Our community has long known that when we are out and visible we are able to deconstruct the discriminatory prejudices that exist to oppress us. Today is National Coming Out Day, a time for us to proactively step out of our closets and honor that power and liberation we experience when we ask of ourselves and the world around us to embrace all that we are across the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Coming out, however, is still not an easy step for our LGBTQ-youth who are born into unsupportive families in a time when our social and political climate has driven an increase in bullying and violence towards the LGBTQ community. Just this week here in San Diego, an anti-LGBTQ rally at a San Diego Unified School District board meeting lifted the veil for many to see the lies and misinformation still being spread about our community. There in that school board room, anti-LGBTQ folks spread lies and hate while LGBTQ youth sat and listened. We have to do better.
San Diego Unified School District’s ever-increasing efforts to support our LGBTQ-youth should be commended, and we should all thank them for not only holding the line but for leading on these efforts. They are, however, just one school district in our county of over 40 school districts. The experiences of our youth vary wildly from classroom to classroom, school to school, and district to district.
That is why Pride has partnered with the San Diego LGBT Community Center, GLSEN San Diego, PFLAG San Diego, TransFamily Support Services, North County LGBTQ Resource Center, Mental Health America of San Diego County, and Trevor Project to put out the San Diego County Local School Climate Survey in an effort to help give a voice to LGBTQ youth across the region, better understand the issues they’re facing, and to have the data we need to better advocate on their behalf.
On this Coming Out Day, please continue to be a bright shining out and proud role model for our next generation, and share this survey with educators, GSA advisory, youth-serving agencies, parents, and students so we can help our LGBTQ-youth Persist with Pride.