Should Acceptance Week be Accepted?

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Ari Stein, Staff Writer

Though the atmosphere at Miramonte is becoming steadily more inclusive, an Acceptance Week is a crucial step in making sure that students who may have felt discriminated against or oppressed feel welcome.

Coming out as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) is not easy. Unfortunately, it can come with judgement and disapproval by some. Only in recent years has the general population begun to be more open and supportive about people of different sexual orientations.

Although there are LGBTQ students at Miramonte who feel accepted, there is still work to be done. Derogatory comments are made everyday and false theories about LGBTQ’s have circulated. Sadly, words like “gay,” “dyke”, and “faggot” are part of some Miramonte students’ daily vocabulary. Some students need to be reminded that what gender(s) a person likes does not define them.

No one should feel that they must hide their true identity. Acceptance Week will encourage students and staff at Miramonte to accept everyone’s individuality and personal choices. The main goal is for students to feel reassured that Miramonte provides a safe environment to express themselves outwardly. It will educate students that no matter what, everyone should be treated the same and that they should be accepting.

Statistics from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), 2011 survey show students in schools where the curriculum includes LGBTQ people were more likely to report that their classmates were somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people than other students (66.7% vs. 33.2%). “Students in schools with an inclusive curriculum had a greater sense of connectedness to their school community than other students,” GLSEN wrote in their report.

By holding an Acceptance Week, Miramonte will have an opportunity to educate students about the LGBTQ community and raise the levels of acceptance. GLSEN’s survey proves it is critical for schools to take the time and educate their students. Miramonte will only help further the curriculum by holding Acceptance Week.

The GSA, along with the Diversity Club, had many different events planned for Acceptance Week. The first day focused on education so people could learn more about the different sexual orientations and understand sexualities. Tuesday focused celebrities and political events involving the LGBTQ community. Wednesday was a seminar about gender roles and femininity. Although the national Day of Silence already happened, Thursday was Miramonte’s. Students could choose to participate in the day of silence. The national day of silence honors people who have been harassed into silence on school grounds. Lastly, today is a celebration of the acceptance we have on campus.

Students eyes will be open to the diverse people our school has. It is up to them to decide whether they want to view these differences as something positive or negative.

Acceptance Week did not force ideas onto students, but offered a week of  pure education. It taught students to be understanding and compassionate to others. Positive change has to start somewhere.