I went to a school in the exurbs of Detroit (for those who know the area Northwest Oakland County), one of schools that is a selling point for the nice houses in the newly sprouted subdivisions. It was one of those schools that even offered a variety of support groups for kids who may have had various problems. It should have been a great place for a kid with some of the “issues” I had (new girl, introvert, depression, queer). My junior year was miserable, but my senior year, I started to pull my self together and started to be more out publicly, and then there were problems…
The first problem was when the student newspaper was going to do a story on the queer students at WLC, and I was expressly forbidden to use my real name during the interview; because, I might not really be gay (besides, I don’t look like a gay), and the school doesn’t want to be responsible for me if I come out.
I don’t listen very well, so I came out in other ways than in a HS newspaper. I came out in AP English, I told people at lunch, I called people on their hetero-sexist bullshit. And it caused problems…leading to a moment where I was walking the gauntlet of junior and senior guys (aka the hallway to get from English to US Government) and a group of guys circled round and told me how they were going to “make me straight”. I was rescued by a sympathetic teacher, but when I sought to have the problem addressed. The school councilor told me because she didn’t think I was really a lesbian, the guys who threatened my safety in school were completely unpunished.
The Safe School Improvement Act of 2010 should be passed, so that kids can feel safe going from English to US Government. So that don’t have their identity invalidated by a school professional. And so things are actually made better for kids now; rather than telling kids it might get better later.