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  • Writer's pictureSanjana N.

Rainbows - Joy or War?

A contradiction of perception faced by the LGBTQ+ community


Dear Ms. Joey


I hope you’re doing well. I'm penning this letter because of your comments during our recent class debate about LGBTQ+ rights. Your comments have left a lasting impression on me and many others, and I found them quite troubling, especially considering your role as an educator whom we look up to and trust.


During the debate, your opinions came across as dismissive and discriminatory towards the LGBTQ+ community. This was disheartening because, as a teacher, you greatly influence us. Your stance adds to the prejudice and stigma that this community already faces, and it’s important to understand how harmful that can be.


Let’s take a moment to remember why Pride Month exists. It marks the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. These riots started after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and ignited a movement towards equality and acceptance. The bravery and resilience shown during those nights laid the foundation for the rights and freedoms the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for today. Despite significant progress, the journey is far from over, and many struggles remain.


Discrimination is a daily reality for many in the LGBTQ+ community. It can range from subtle biases in the workplace to outright social rejection and violence. The mental health impact is severe, with members of the LGBTQ+ community facing higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide compared to their heterosexual counterparts. A study by Stonewall found that  3 in 5 members of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced anxiety at some point.  This is often compounded by the lack of acceptance and support from important figures in their lives, including teachers and mentors.


It’s confusing and hurtful that while you show care for individuals from other marginalized communities, you don’t extend that same support to the LGBTQ+ community. You always used to say that you go to slum areas and help educate under-marginalized people but when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community, you said you wouldn’t let your daughter in your house if she came out to you as part of it. This selective empathy goes against the values of inclusivity and respect education should promote. Every student, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to feel safe, accepted, and valued. It’s crucial that as an educator, you foster an environment where all students can thrive without fear of judgment or exclusion.


I’m asking you to think about the impact of your words and actions. Consider how hard it is for someone to embrace their identity in a world that often rejects them. People from the LGBTQ+ community often face hardships in embracing their identity due to societal prejudices and discrimination. Accusing a completely normal person of being “against nature” cannot be accepted. This might even worsen the hardship they face being discriminated against in their school, among their friends, in the workplace, and so on. These people are already fighting a battle to prove their talent and find their place in the world. They don’t have to fight another battle to prove they’re not unnatural.

 

As a teacher, you can shape young minds and promote a more inclusive and compassionate society. Your support and understanding can make a world of difference to a student struggling with their identity.


I encourage you to learn more about the experiences and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community. There are many resources—books, documentaries, workshops—that can provide valuable insights. Engaging with these materials can help you become a more supportive ally and a better advocate for all your students. It’s about broadening your perspective and understanding the unique challenges that different groups face.


Change starts with understanding and empathy. We can build a more just and equitable world by acknowledging our biases and working to overcome them. Your role in this is crucial, and I hope you’ll embrace this opportunity for growth. Your impact on your students can be profound, and choosing to support all of them equally will leave a lasting positive legacy.


Sincerely,

Sanjana

 


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