California school forces teachers to put up gay-friendly posters

Here’s a link to the <A HREF=“http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11203537/”>MSNBC article</A>. Basically, a school in California has mandated that all of its teachers put up signs that say:

Lesbian
Gay
Bisexual
Transgender
Questioning
Youth

<B>safe space</B>

This is a safe place to be who you are. This sign affirms that support and resources are available for you in this school.

While I agree with the message behind the signs, and I initially agreed with the placement of them when I first heard about it, I’m starting to question them. They’re particularly politically motivated, and may cause students who disagree with them to be shot down by teachers who do. Also, students whose religions disagree with the posters may feel persecuted.

I don’t know what to think about this. I’m kind of playing the devil’s advocate with myself in my own mind over the issue. The same liberal side of me that supports the sign (for trying to stop discrimination of homosexuals) also dislikes the sign (for discriminating against those who don’t agree with homosexuality). But then, I think that discriminating against homosexuality is bigoted, so I should side against those people, but they have a right to an opinion too, and their just school students, so they might just be believing what their parents or religion teach them without critically thinking it through.

Again, I can’t take a side on this, no matter how badly I want to. Dammit.

You need to be more decisive about your values. To me, the issue is simple: racism and bigotry is bad. Being intolerant of racism isn’t hypocritical but the right thing to do. You have to draw a line to push for progress. Indecisiveness will only lead you to circles and you’ll do more damage that way than if you picked a position based on the facts about why people are gay and why the people are bigoted. There are clear and simple reasons for that and knowing those reasons definetly makes it easy to say why you want to support 1 side over the other.

You can’t discriminate against bigots. They’re the ones discriminating.

Personally, I think the signs are a good thing. They will do more good than harm.

When I was in highschool, I remember there being a couple gay kids who were completely outcast. And that was fine with most of the student body. Perhaps, if there were signs of this sort posted in my school at the time, they might have been more accepted. Or at least their mistreatment might have been more frowned upon.

Then again, it might not have done anything at all. But I don’t think it could make anything worse.

The type of people who would complain about these signs would most likely be the super-religious narrow minded people. And those people are going to find something to complain about regardless.

I’m not trying to defend the people who <I>hate</I> homosexuals, or even those that fear them. I’m simply defending those who simply think that it’s against their religion or something. Much in the same way that I might offer a kosher menu item to a semetic friend, even if I personally don’t agree with avoiding pork due to religion. Some people disagree with homosexuality but are still very friendly to homosexuals, and aren’t neccesarily bigoted. Those are the people I’d want to defend.

Though you’re right, I think I’m talking myself in circles. I’d been awake for 35+ hours when I’d posted this, and now that I’ve slept a bit (45 minutes… -_-), I agree that there’s no harm in the poster, and that the people that I’d want to defend should be smart enough to realize that they’re not persecuted. I hope.

Well, they are kind of like the “DON’T RAPE PEOPLE” posters in college dorms. The message is nice but are they really helping?

If someone hangs a sign up to say something, then whatever the sign supports probably isn’t true at the moment, rendering the sign pointless. In cases like this.

That said, it’s a nice sentiment, but fairly pointless. If you need to actively fight discrimination, your problem isn’t a lack of anti-discrimination slogans, it’s the existence of the discrimination itself. And you’re not going to change bigots simply telling them that they’re wrong, you have to completely destroy the wrongheaded basis of their belief in the first place. A sign isn’t going to do that.

That “that” said, the sign isn’t persecuting anything except the belief of some that they have the right to force their selfish little beliefs on others. Please don’t take that as my usual condemnation of all things religious, I’m just saying that regardless of whether you think someone’s actions are wrong (for secular or religious reasons), unless those actions actively hurt someone it’s not your place to force other people into your mold.

In conclusion…they probably should have just printed some decent textbooks with the money instead of the signs.

I wonder if there are people who get offended by the little symbols on kosher products.

The homophobes and such don’t matter. What about the teachers? What if they don’t want to put anything on their wall? They should put it around school instead of in class.

If it generates dialogue, I don’t think its so worthless. Although some part of me doesn’t think anything 'll change any time soon.

Things’ll change once our generation comes of age and gets power. We’ve all be socialized to not care about homosexuality, so once we’re the financial backbone of this country we’ll let gays do what they want.

That’s the way it usually goes - adults rarely change their beliefs, and societies evolve their ethics only when the younger generation, taught better, grows up. That’s the way it was with things like civil rights and women’s rights.

School <b>forces</b>?

Precisely. And looking at the nature of the gay rights issue and how long its taken to get the progress we have on women’s rights and minority rights, this will take an especially long time.

I don’t think that the posters are really advocating much of anything, since they’re emphasizing the fact that it’s “safe” to be gay rather than telling people that being gay is better than being straight or something. I suppose the only part of the sign that could be construed as “political” is the phrase “to be who you are,” but other than that, it is pretty much the school’s foremost responsibility to make the school safe for all of its students.

They certainly didn’t stop me.

wow…i hadn’t heard about anything like that. that’s more the kind of thing that would make you laugh when you saw it.

Indeed, were you so dedicated to not “discriminating” against anyone, you could argue that the “DON’T RAPE PEOPLE” poster discriminates against who like to rape others. If you are looking for the public school system to advocate a subjective relativist position, you’re already in the wrong place. The schools are there to help provide a moral structure for young people. I disagree that the poster is political in any meaningful way: it is a message not to homophobes denouncing their beliefs, but a direct message to the homosexual youth, who are much more vulnerable than others, saying that his teachers are there to help him, not to hurt. If a teacher objects to this poster, he should probably find a new job.

The one thing I disagree with is the inclusion of “transgender” which I believe is a fundamentally seperate issue from homosexuality, and one that is completely morally indefensible. In fact, I object to the whole poster on that principle, though if it were excluded, it would be fine.

Yay, well said!

Forcing teachers to put up posters is still morally repugnanat and quasi-fascist, but in this case, it’s a good cause.

So is sending the national guard when white people want to stop black little girls from going to their school but it is for a good cause.

Would you please explain this statement?