Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaching Tolerance

Our members in the BlogSpot program at Aliamanu today discussed how to teach tolerance for gay youth in our schools and communities. The topic was brought up in light of the recent surge of young suicides around the nation due to bullying of gay youth. Although the BGCH does not support any particular political agenda, we do believe that it is important for all youth of any race, sex, gender, ethnicity, nationality and sexual orientation to feel safe and welcome in their communities. And since most of the cruelty that gay youth experience is actually from their peers, we felt the need to educate our youth about tolerance and acceptance of other diverse children.

It was encouraging to see our youth sharing ideas and being honest about the experience of gay youth in schools, as well as brainstorming ways to inspire others to become more tolerant of their classmates.

Shaqera W. and Carla T., both 8th graders, collaborated on their blog to come up with some useful insights:
"If I were to talk to a guy or girl that was being bullied for his or her sexual orientation, some things that I would tell him or her is that...it's okay to be gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual. And the reason is because we are all people and we are all different in many ways, and it shouldn't matter because we were all put on this earth together so we should all love each other." They also felt that it wasn't fair to judge people because you probably don't know the person well enough to judge them just based on what you've heard about them.

Jamal O., a 7th grader, had some helpful advice to youth who may be bullied. He said that "if you are being teased just ignore it and keep on walking because being different is really fun and exciting! So keep on being happy!"

And Kylar S. and Zack H., both 7th graders, shared that they think "it's alright to be gay" and "if you are gay you don't have to feel different from others." They said that "it's okay who you like whether it is a boy or a girl. The reason people like another person is because they make you feel good inside."

Their reflections are aimed to help other people see that gay youth are really kids just like anyone else and they deserve to be treated with respect. What matters about a person is not their sexual orientation, but rather their personality and how they treat others.