Archive for Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LHS transgender students face backlash after protest, say ‘this isn’t the end’ for their advocacy

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18, 2017, in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

Lawrence High School students crowd the LHS rotunda on the morning of Sept. 18, 2017, in support of transgender rights and against what some described as a pervasive culture of transphobic behavior at the school. This photo was shared with the Journal-World by a student.

September 19, 2017


One day after student protests over transgender rights brought national media attention to Lawrence High, organizers behind the sit-in say conditions at the school remain hostile for some LGBT students.

Elliot Bradley, an LHS sophomore who helped organize the protest, was optimistic going to school Tuesday. The day before, he and more than 70 classmates staged a peaceful protest in the school’s rotunda that lasted about five hours before administrators assured the group that “action would be taken” to make sure transgender students felt safe at school.

What Bradley didn’t expect, he told the Journal-World Tuesday afternoon, was the backlash that followed. He said slurs were thrown at him walking down the hallway, where he said students feigned “accidentally” shoving him. In short, “it was not OK,” Bradley said.

“Our motto for the day is that we travel in packs. That’s what we’re going with,” Bradley said of his fellow protesters. “We’re not leaving each other alone, we don’t go to the bathroom alone and we don’t leave the bathroom alone.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” he added. “But we’re managing.”

LHS debuts new 'gender-neutral' homecoming policy

What prompted last week’s mass GroupMe conversation hasn’t been clear thus far, though LHS teacher Lindsay Buck speculated it may have been partly inspired by backlash over the school’s new “gender-neutral” homecoming policy.

Earlier this month, the LHS student council voted to eliminate the gender-specific homecoming “king” and “queen” titles, instead opting for a more inclusive “homecoming royalty” court. Previously, the gender-specific titles left out those who don’t conform to traditional gender identities.

The top two votegetters will still receive crowns and capes, according to LHS student newspaper The Budget, but won’t take home the title of homecoming king or queen.

LHS' homecoming football game is scheduled for Sept. 29, and the school's homecoming dance is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Monday’s protest was mainly prompted by derogatory remarks made in a group text conversation last Wednesday, following what protesters described as a long-standing and pervasive culture of discrimination at the school. More than 200 LHS seniors, including some football players, were looped into the GroupMe discussion, which occurred after school hours and was not school-sanctioned.

Some comments in the conversation likened transgender identities to mental disorders. One student asked, “if a (slur for transgender person) hits you is it still hitting a woman or no?” Another insisted that the name on a person’s birth certificate determines gender once and for all.

Bradley, along with fellow LHS Total Equality Alliance leaders Etana Parks and Jonavan Shepard, said they organized Monday’s protest in response to what they saw as an inadequate reaction from school administration regarding the incident.

Protesters argued Monday that the athletes’ actions violated not only the LHS school-wide anti-discrimination policy but also the school’s “Philosophy for the Student Athlete,” which states that “all actions on and off the field” serve as a direct reflection of the entire school community.

Several students reported the GroupMe conversation to administrators Friday morning, but were repeatedly told that nothing could be done because the situation occurred after school hours, Shepard said.

“Counselors knew about it, administrators knew about it and there were teachers running around the school the whole day trying to protect trans students,” said Shepard, who is transgender. “It’s just that it wasn’t happening quickly enough.”

Things snowballed after football players involved in the incident were still allowed to play in Friday night’s game against Lee’s Summit West, Bradley said.

As part of their protest, students submitted a list of demands to LHS administration, making it clear that they would not leave the rotunda until at least some demands were met.

Among other things, the list calls for those “who participated in harassing transgender students” to be held accountable, including the suspension of student athletes due to “unsportsmanlike conduct.” Protesters asked that those who were harassed receive a written apology from the students involved, also requesting “public recognition that the main group responsible” were athletes.

Aside from disciplinary matters, the demands also call for new administration at the school dedicated to handling discrimination issues, as well as a new panel comprising five teachers and two students to serve as “decision-makers on punishments for any future incidents of discrimination and as support for all students.”

Finding a 'safe space' in the chaos

By the end of the school day Monday, Bradley said, administrators agreed that those who made offensive comments in the GroupMe chat would be punished. District policy forbids staff from discussing individual disciplinary measures publicly, however. There was also some talk about partnering with the school’s peer-mentoring LINK Crew to offer educational programs around discrimination, Bradley said, but nothing has been finalized yet.

Fortunately, Bradley said, one of the few actions immediately taken by LHS administration was to offer a “safe space” for students in the wake of Monday’s protests. He and several others had stayed in the school’s library classroom Tuesday, skipping classes but working on assignments independently while waiting for backlash to die down.

“We’ve been told that action isn’t going to be immediate, which we’re all coming to terms with,” Bradley said of the school’s response. “I don’t know how long they expect us to deal with this. We have a group of students who are hiding from the rest of the student body because they don’t feel safe.”

For Bradley, that backlash began Monday night. Widespread harassment over social media, he said, was swift. While he was heartened to see online posters share messages of support, he also saw comments (on the Journal-World’s original story) that he describes as “just hateful.”

“That’s something we took in stride,” Bradley said. “There is a part of you that asks yourself, ‘Have I done something wrong? Have I made a mistake? Have we (inadvertently) hurt someone in the process?’ And the answer is no.”

Lindsay Buck, who chairs the LHS special education department, said she’s proud of the student protesters. Despite her longtime post as sponsor of the Total Equality Alliance, Buck, who was appointed to the National Education Association's 2017-18 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee earlier this fall, said she didn’t help the students organize the protest. She said she only became aware of it Monday morning, and it was “completely student-organized and student-led.”

Students researched extensively beforehand what was allowed — students can protest on school grounds as long as their activities don’t “substantially disrupt” the school day — and continued talks with administration throughout the day, Buck said, even getting some homework done while stationed in the rotunda.

“It just speaks to the students’ leadership skills,” Buck said. “It was pretty powerful to see that many students come together in solidarity in support of trans and non-binary students, knowing they organized this all on their own.”

And LHS administration, she said, is in the process of developing a plan to address LGBT issues not just school-wide but district-wide. Buck said on Tuesday that administrators had already reached out to her and another staff member about possible support and education programs at the school.

Buck is a member of the District Equity Advisory Council and said that committee also plans to reach out to administrators.

“By and large,” she said, Lawrence High has “lots of teachers” willing to support and protect transgender youths. Last week’s GroupMe incident, however, illustrated that perhaps “we’re not doing enough as a school,” Buck said.

“We definitely are moving in a positive direction, but in terms of student safety and mental health and well-being, that needs to be paramount for us as educators,” she said, adding, “When we hear bullying in our classroom or otherwise, we need to speak up and stand up for these kids. That is our job.”

'This isn't the end'

Transgender students will continue “standing up,” too, Shepard said. He and Parks, whose worries about presenting as female for the first time were documented in a 2016 Journal-World story about transgender teens, have a “history” of it, Shepard said.

Administrators know “this isn’t the end,” he said of Monday’s protest.

“And if they ignore what we have expressed our concerns about, they know we’re going to do it again, whether in a sit-in or a forum,” Shepard said. “But they know they can’t ignore it.”

LHS administration, as well as district spokeswoman Julie Boyle, did not immediately respond to the Journal-World's information requests Tuesday.

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Lindsay Buck's role on the the District Equity Advisory Council. She is a committee member.


Josh Berg 8 months, 1 week ago

Nobody should be discriminated against and feel threatened, especially in school. However, what are these kids to do when they get into the real world? Your future employers are not going to give you a safe space to work when you feel threatened. They are supposed to be preparing for the next step and real life. Also, the safe space is only needed due to the backlash from their actions yesterday. Like I said before, making a big stink like they did yesterday is not going to make things better and this proves it. This all just seems silly to me

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 1 week ago

Josh, I am 65 years old, and have been working since I was 14 years old. I have never had an employee allow workers to harass one another and shove them And this was going on anyway, the bullies just decided to up their nasty behavior. The students who are being harassed shouldn't stand up for themselves? You really believe that?

Josh Berg 8 months ago

Dorothy you are showing your age. The bullies did not suddenly up their nasty behavior. Do you really think that's the first text of its kind to be sent out? The fact is this has been going on and it does go on all the time. And I am not saying do not stand up for yourself. I am saying there are better ways to go about it. Sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming is not a way to get attention or get what you want and today's hostile behavior proves it. Bullies want to get a rise out of you and going about things the way these kids did only showed the bullies that they were getting that rise.

Amelia Anne Baranet 8 months ago

You're wrong, Josh. You just admitted yourself that there was a need for safe space for these kids all along, not just because of this incident. What they did had little to do with giving in to the bullies. It was to get the attention of the unresponsive administration, and it sounds like it worked. So what you have proposed instead? That they continue to suffer in silence? That they bring guns to school and get payback?

I'm super proud of these kids for the resolve and maturity they showed. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a more inclusive and welcoming environment in ALL Lawrence's schools.

Jillian Andrews 8 months ago

Josh, I think it's your age and inexperience that's showing. No "real" employer would allow harassment on any front -- law suits ain't cheap kiddo. A work place should be free from hateful action and speech, it's that simple. The problem isn't with the person who is transgender. The problem is (among other things) attitudes like yours, expecting people to change themselves to fit other's hateful behaviors.

Calvin Anders 8 months ago

Josh, you are ignoring the real issue. The protesters were not protesting the bullies. They were protesting the indifference of the school administration. The protest was about how the school administration is allowing a hostile atmosphere to florish. Protesters know they aren't going to directly reach the idiots who hurl slurs at them and shove them in the halls. The protesters want a change to the way the school administration deals with the issue. A few mean spirited kids with their own problems lashing out at transgender students is one thing, but a school administration that looks then other way is much more dangerous. Administrators need to be called out.

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

In one article I saw some of the supposedly harassing texts or messages. I would not characterize all of them as harassing. Demeaning and degrading chatter has no place, but i don't know that this situation warrants this type of attention. No, I don't know all the facts, but the facts I have seen do not lead me to believe there is an endemic issue.

Ken Easthouse 8 months, 1 week ago

@Josh, in the employment world, people are protected by anti-retaliation laws, where an employer cannot make negative employment decisions based on reporting harassment or discrimination. Your employer may not give you a safe space, but they most certainly are obligated to investigate any acts of retaliation and respond appropriately.

When I was younger, it's not that people across the gender spectrum didn't exist, but society as a whole told everyone a little different to sit down and shut up; that not fitting into the "boy means x, girl means y" paradigm was a reason for the rest of society to marginalize you as a person. We have learned this to be wrong, and slowly begun the process of deprogramming ourselves away from the harmful attitudes of the past. It's tough, I even catch myself saying things wrong every so often, because I don't always understand the nuances. But I'm working on it.

So when these kids - who would certainly have been marginalized in ages past - stand up and say they won't take it, they are saying they will not reverse the progress we have all worked so hard as a society to obtain. They are doing the heavy lifting that adults should have been doing for a long time.

Josh Berg 8 months ago

Definitely do not want to get into this argument now but boy means boy and girl means girl still Ken. You cannot change biology and the fact that we are all born a boy or a girl. Thank you for reaffirming my decision to not vote for you though.

Amelia Anne Baranet 8 months ago

Biology has ZERO to do with gender identity OR gender presentation, Josh. More importantly, what means 'girl' and 'boy' changes ALL the time in society. Men used to wear high heels. Roman soldiers wore 'skirts'. And Jesus wore what we today would consider a dress. Try to educate yourself before shooting your mouth off.

Josh Berg 8 months ago

Jesus actually wore a robe, which is still not a dress in today's world. Maybe you are the one who has to educate yourself before shooting your mouth off

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

You're absolutely right, Josh, that b means b and g means g, but you are not taking into account that there is more than birth genitals involved in the equation. If you'll investigate the science behind sexual identity, you'll find that there is a definite reason that some born a certain sex are absolutely right in that they are in the wrong bodies. You'll never understand, I suppose, but at least take the time to do the research and becoming accepting. That's the right thing to do.

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

So we should embrace multiple types of gender identities, assist people in feeding their confusion, and then in more extreme cases, encourage people to take all kinds of drugs and even surgeries to correct supposed problems that really aren't there? I am speaking from experience when I say this in that I believe the whole LGBT community is taking this way too far, and that a lot of transgender people I have met quite bluntly are not right in the head, and it seems the left is too quick to embrace that and encourage that confusion and other medical measures (half the time which leave the poor individual worse off than they were before) instead of the counseling that is better.

Demeaning & degrading speech? Got it, unacceptable. But this is hurting society more than it is helping when you go too far w/it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months ago

How is it hurting you? Be specific. How are you in charge of what other people are doing if it doesn't hurt you? For example, some people thought that same sex marriage would destroy their marriage. How about your marriage, Armen. Has its destroyed your marriage?

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

Dorothy, by that logic, no one who is not related to me in a familiar, friend, or professional matter in the country should ever get help.

And we're not talking about same sex marriage here.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

Do you honestly not see her point. Her point is that if gay marriage didn't destroy your marriage how does the existence of transgender people hurt you?

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

Your not listening to what I'm saying. Just disregard Dorothy because she never makes any sense and confuses things more, read my replies below to the other posts that were more well thought out and rational.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

I did read your posts and responded in kind. Do not tell me who to listen to please, Dorothy often has very cogent arguments on these threads and I'll thank you avoid belittling people on this thread that you disagree with.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months ago

Armen, here is a quote from your post above. "But this is hurting society more than it is helping when you go too far w/it." Would you like to clarify what you mean by "this". I understood you to mean that "this" was the desire of some people to define their gender and their sexuality. If I was wrong, then, my comment was wrong. If I was right, then how does it hurt you if someone wants to be gay or trans. If this question doesn't make sense to you and explain it.

Peaty Romano 8 months ago

"So we should embrace multiple types of gender identities " In a word yes. As the parent of a transgender child it's frankly people like you that concern me more than anything. Transgender people know who they are. Quite Bluntly, I think it's you that is confused. Please educate yourself before making broad statements. People with Gender Diaspora do get counseling, in fact doctors will not treat them in any capacity until they do. Please try and understand things before paint someone as "not right in the head" :

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

Fair enough, but consider it from this vantagepoint. There seems to be a mass push by the drug industry, or those with financial interest to generate and create a mass number of new and exotic conditions and disorders for which we all need treatment and drugs and maybe more invasive methods. More opportunities to sell drugs for people who think they may need them when they don't. I consider this a different side of the same coin. No, I'm not a psychologist, I have no training in human behavior other than what I've gotten as part of other educational opportunities. But you are never going to convince me that coming up with multiple different definitions or types of gender along with some of the options that they are dealt with are necessary. I have personally known and have had many contacts with people who've had sex change operations, drug treatments, or other types of procedures and I can tell you it seems to mess things up a lot more than it helps. I blame the movement a heck of a lot more than I blame the individual.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

So you're blaming the drug industry for creating gender dysphoria? That is a pretty brazen claim with literally nothing to back it up other than how you kinda feel. Also please can we avoid the "I have a friend who told me x" anecdotes are not the same as data and there is a good deal of psychological data to back up the existence of gender dysphoria. There are studies that show that sex changes and hormones don't always help but that is a far cry from the whole disorder being an invention of the drug industry.

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

If one person has a genuine disorder, it's better for the industry or the political side of the issue to try to make it five or six.

Please tell me where I said, "I have a friend who told me X". I have seen people who as a consequence of the 'help' they have received have not IMHO been well-served by those efforts.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

You just said it again, "I have seen people who as a consequence of the 'help' they received." your anecdote about the people you've seen receive help is not evidence that everyone who receives help is ill served. Fine I'll take a turn, I have a friend who has received help and she's doing great.

Peaty Romano 8 months ago

Gender Disphoria is not considered a "disorder" Similar to when the DSM took "homosexuality" off the list as a "Disorder" in 73' it was removed in the DSM-5. Also, the drugs for hormone therapy are very inexpensive. I think you have your tin foil hat on too tight.

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

Yes, no, and only if indicated. That takes care of your first question. As for your second statement, your experience as a doctor or psychologist qualifies you to know when people are "right in the head"? The left, as you so eloquently put it, is quick to embrace those issues that directly affect the people, so, yeah, they're quick to defend trans as a distinct issue, in order to minimize the confusion that they feel and experience, quite honestly, in part, because of attitudes such as yours. If you would look at the science involved, you'd know that counseling is an integral part of helping the trans to come to the realization that he/she is undergoing a real transformation and to deal with the ignorance of the population who continue to make their transformation difficult, at least, and impossible to cope with, at worst.

And, how, for heaven's sake, does this hurt society, not including the feelings of those who have such a difficult time understanding and accepting that transgenderism exists?

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

As above. It hurts society because it hurts a group of individuals who are getting treated in my opinion as pawns in a broader movement to try to confuse cause and effect. I never said there weren't some genuine medical problems here, but just because I'm not a medical professional doesn't mean I can't weigh in and say this whole splinterization of gender identity and the efforts to 'treat' them aren't causing more harm than good.

People need counseling all the time, sure. But there seems to be this politically driven effort to expand and grow this 'industry' of gender confusion just to make it seem like it's a bigger problem than it is; if this keeps up, the size of the problem will grow to meet the size of its misguided politicization.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

I sincerely hope you never deal with a condition that society doesn't consider a genuine problem. For years depression and anxiety were seen as "fake" conditions and people died due to a lack of treatment. The opioid crisis has spiraled out of control and many localities are struggling to get doctors and police to carry drugs to reverse an overdose out of a belief that it's not a condition worth worrying about. Whether you "think" it's real is largely irrelevant to the people who are going throug it.

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

I hear what you are saying, I really do, not being patronizing here. And I didn't say the conditions were fake. I said there seems to be an effort to paint a much larger portion of the population with this issue because it helps make the political case for it and helps sell more treatment.

If we were talking about 'gluten intolerance' or ADHD I'd be saying the same thing.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

But Armen, people with Gluten Intolerance and ADHD aren't being bullied and killed in some cases because of their condition. When you belittle the plight, especially of children, being bullied and in some cases bullied into suicide or killed because of what they're going through you're feeding the rhetoric that is causing the problem. And you're implying that these children are "choosing" to be the subject of this harassment and bullying in their school because they don't have a condition they just think they do, I think that is a very dangerous line of thought and gives people who harass and or discriminate against them the free reign to do so because it's possible their condition is faked.

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

That's not what I said at all. I've got to move on, work day is getting short.

Christine Anderson 8 months ago

Excuse me? Are you really saying these kids who were brave enough to stand up and demand change are " hurting society"? NO! Are you familiar with how sit-ins and protests have been used to effect needed change? There need be no confusion. How about we just accept others as they are and let it be!

Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

Christ almighty, read my damn post, that is NOT what I said! This whole transgender movement by the left to try to overdiagnose, make it something larger, getting more people to take unnecessary medications and get surgeries and in my opinion adding even more confusion to the matter are the ones hurting society. You're all so hell bent on trying to find as many people as you can, including when it's not there.

Believe what you want. When I PERSONALLY see and witness what happens to a lot of these folks when these misguided efforts exacerbate these problems, damage these people even further it pisses me off, so don't presume to think I'm persecuting the victims here.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 1 week ago

You need to walk down the halls, especially with if you are alone, with your phone on an recording. If you can afford one, get a go pro.

Brock Masters 8 months ago

Something imchide others for is their double standards and hypocrisy so I like to think my principles and beliefs are not selective or situational or political.

With that said, my view on transgender, and all the other gender identities is I don't care. This is America where individual freedom is sacrosanct so live your life as you choose. I want people to be free to find their way to their happiness and as long as their actions do not harm others I say live and let live.

Same sex marriage is a good example of my beliefs. Why would I oppose it? First there is the Constitution that requires equal application of the law and second it does me and others no harm so why would I stand in the way of two people's happiness.

I will judge you on your actions, but not on your race, religion, nationality, sex, gender or sexual orientation. None of these matter. It is who you are as a person that matters.

I will not tolerate anyone criminally abusing or hararassing others. I stood up for some young gay girls protesting at a Trump rally a while back. A moron decided to scream at them for protesting. He quickly scurried away as I approach and I apologized to the girls for his actions and let them know I supported their right to be there and I was sorry they were subjected to the abuse by the idiot. I wanted to let them know not all at the rally, not all conservatives were ignorant buffoons

We had a nice conversation about Trump and my views on him. We shook hands and I went on my way and they continued to protest. I didn't agree with their signs and message but they had the right to be there and I had the responsibility to step up when they were being harassed.

I don't share this to say look at me, but only to show that a person can be conservative and if they are principled and truly believe in the Constitution can and should stand for all Americans, even those you don't like, understand or want to associate with. Coexistence means sharing space with not only those like you but also those nothing like you.

Same situation here. I don't agree with message of the football players but as long as they don't cross the legal line of harassing someone or threatening them then I support their right to say it. If I heard it in person I'd challenge them, but they still have the right to speak. Based on the school policy I don't see based on the limited info in the article where they violated it. They said stupid stuff but didn't do it at school and doesn't appear they threatened anyone. Yes, someone needs to talk to them about what they said and their attitudes.

I may not like certain speech but I support free speech, even when it's wrong.

Daniel Kennamore 8 months ago

You're missing a key difference between this case and your example.

The person being harassed are legally required to attend school...they have no choice in the matter.

As such, the school as a responsibility to provide a environment that is safe not only physically but emotionally for these students.

If you didn't like the posters of someone who disagreed with you at a protest, you are free to just walk away.

The standard for 'the line' of what constitutes bullying must be must stricter in schools because of this.

Brock Masters 8 months ago

The point you're missing is I wasn't comparing the two, just sharing n experience I had. But on missing the point, the incident didn't happen at school and the students didn't have to enter the chat room. They could have left.

Kathleen Christian 8 months ago

These kids went about this all wrong. So what are they to do when they are in the real world and don't like what their employers is doing...have a sit in? They should have written a letter to the School office and have everyone sign it and have sent a copy to the District asking for a conference to discuss the problem. Then if nothing was done take it further. I agree this is just nonsense. They need to be more concerned about their grades then creating this drama. So somebody called them a name....GET OVER IT, baby. If they don't like something about themselves then change it, don't blame it on someone else because they don't understand them or don't like them for that matter. Not everyone is going to like you in your lifetime, GET OVER IT. The problem with these kids today is they are too whiny and need to toughen up. We can't all be tiptoeing in the tulips, everyday.

Josh Berg 8 months ago

Could not have said it better myself Kathleen

Jillian Andrews 8 months ago

These kids are doing amazing things and showing others exactly what our country is all about and how people, when organizing, can effect change. NO ONE, in a school, work place, or any other public place should be subjected to hate. You are on the WRONG side of the problem.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months ago

No, in the adult world if a fellow employee is harassing you and the boss isn't doing anything about it, you hire a lawyer. If the bully employee kicks you or physically harms you, you call the police. I would say these kids were being nice.

Perhaps you all can help the bullies form a rally to demand their right to bully others? I don't think it will go over very well.

Andrew Dufour 8 months ago

Kathleen, I understand what you're saying to a point, on some level you do have to develop thicker skin but you're also making the assumption that the level of harassment being thrown at these kids was minor enough that they should just take it on the chin and move on with their lives. However, I think we need to respect the fact that we don't know what these kids are going through and if they're going to have a 5 hour sit in demanding a response from the administration I think we can presume that the harassment is relatively serious. Bullying in schools has always existed but social media has not and social media has provided a megaphone for many good things but also many bad things such as hate speech. Kids have committed suicide because of severe bullying and I'd rather see action taken by the administration to address this if it's a concern than to see a kid kill themselves in the name of "toughen up."

Barbara Johnston 8 months ago

Want to relay great respect for Elliot Bradley who had the courage to speak up in a hostile environment. And respect for the students who participated in the sit-in and tolerated unkind reactions. Hope the school administration will continue supporting those kids in their efforts to bring dignity to those whose gender identity may not be the same as the mainstream. Thank goodness our world is accepting that being non-binary is ok and that one's gender identity may be a difficult choice, but the decision should be acknowledged and supported.

Richard Aronoff 8 months ago

Know what would make things better,Josh? If the LGBT students formed a chapter of the Pink Pistols things would get better real fast. You can find them on Facebook or through any search engine. Read about the group before you comment.

Nothing would adjust a bully's attitude better than the notion of being on the business and of a Glock.

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the comment voted least responsive to any kind of rational thought. Thank you, Richard, for the latest in your long and distinguished line of, well, you know what.

Richard Aronoff 8 months ago

Why don't you try reading about the organization first, Greg. Or are you incapable of reading something that's more than 140 characters. Better yet, try talking to some of the survivors of the Orlando massacre. ( ! ) - hat

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

Now, what part of this statement of purpose did I not understand, Richard? The part I don't understand is the part where you advocate these kids carry a Glock to protect themselves from cyber bullying.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months ago

I realize that some people do not like or agree with people who don't follow along the mold. All throughout history there have been gay people, people who aren't comfortable with the gender that society defines. They have just led miserable, sad lives. Now we have a change to let people be who they want to be. They aren't harming others.

Yet, bullies do harm others. That's what this protest is about. People who bully are sick. They have no empathy. They often pick on people who they hardly know, people who they don't even need to talk to. I don't care who they are bullying - nerds, gays, trans, immigrants, kids with disabilities, overweight kids, etc. It's just wrong, period. It should not be allowed. Parents, teach your kids to be polite. Maybe you don't want to teach them to hang out with someone who is different, but tell them to mind their own business. No one is forcing them to hang out and be friends with people they hate, but they do not have to bully them. Zero tolerance. Bullies should not be given privileges.

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