Signs of Gay Life at the End of the Road

Homer now has its very own PFLAG chapter, and the potential leaders of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

"We had a fundraiser with a showing of Milk at the Homer Theatre and got an amazing turnout," wrote Jennifer, President of Homer PFLAG. The group brought handouts on LGBT issues and 'Homer PFLAG' buttons to the theater. "We plan to have another fundraiser soon to raise money for a scholarship."

Alaska has active PFLAG chapters in Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Chapters in Kenai and Palmer are not currently active.

At the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer has a reputation for being artistic and progressive, but in many ways it is also a conservative fishing town.

"We are so excited about the two outspoken high school student allies who recently wrote letters to the editor in the Homer News," Jennifer wrote. The letters were published in the March 11 issue of the paper, calling for more acceptance of gay people and less discrimination by students, teachers and society.

In "GBTLs are human too," Lukas compares the lack of tolerance at Homer High to the acceptance seen at his previous school:
"I just moved to Homer from Portland, Maine, seven months ago. I was really surprised at the lack of acceptance of gay, bi, transgender and lesbians (GBTL) in the community. Where I went to school in Portland almost half the freshman class was GBTL, and more than a third of my friends were, too. They were accepted into the community like everyone else. We celebrated Gay Pride Day and had a Gay-Straight Alliance at school. On Gay Pride Day we had guest speakers who were GBTL speak to our school about their experiences. We listened to their stories in complete silence, some brought to tears. Even those of us who were homophobic listened with respect, acknowledging the speakers for who they were.

"Here at Homer High School it is as if being GBTL is an infectious disease. People cringe at the mention of gay love. In my Alaska studies class the role of gay men in Inupiat communities was briefly mentioned. Our books said that they had an important role in the community; they were honored for their fine skills in medicine. Immediately my classmates started to gag and proclaim how disgusting this was. I confronted one of them and told him I saw no problem with being gay. He started to laugh. I see no education in the school promoting GBTL, or even promotion for acceptance from the teachers. Whenever something is boring or frustrating it is automatically referred to as gay.

"GBTLs are human too; there is no difference between them and me. Some may not see eye to eye with them, but I see no reason to bash them. Just as I accept you for who you are, can we not live our lives and accept them for who they are?"
In "Nation needs more acceptance," Emerson argues that accepting those who are different by nature is a moral act:
"It has been recorded that a gay percentage of the human race has existed ever since we first came onto this earth. This makes me wonder why it is that we can't accept them as just another faction of our race. The population of this country doesn't seem interested in making gays a welcome part of society as shown in the recent banning of gay marriage in all states [DOMA], and especially by proposition 8 in California, which intends to nullify all of the gay marriages in the state. I consider this a terrible tragedy, and am baffled by our inability to accept the fact that this is the way humans are and always will be.

"I think it's time that this country matured as a people, to accept those things that are different and stop being afraid of those things unfamiliar. We have all seen the good that can be done when we join together for a cause or a belief. Beautiful things can happen, but at this point in time we seem incapable of achieving unity. If we have the ability to accept, than there is no valid excuse not to; and I can tell you here and now that every human has the capability to accept those who are different, and I say that it is morally incorrect not to do so."
Thank you to the students for writing these letters, and thank you Homer News for printing them. Congratulations to Homer PFLAG on a good start.


Anonymous said...

Why were the letters not also submitted to the Homer Tribune?

E. Ross said...

I don't know where they were submitted, only where they were printed. Do you work for the Trib?

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