Monday, May 24, 2010

In My View: Bill would help protect gay students

The following is a portion of an op-ed written by Alex Williams, a student at the University of Illinois Springfield majoring in sociology with minors in women and gender studies and visual arts. It was published in a May 22, 2010, edition of The State Journal-Register.

"On April 23, members of the Illinois House and the Senate passed an anti-bullying bill that includes language addressing sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill soon. I encourage the governor to sign this bill because there is an abundance of discrimination toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in schools.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, carried out the 2007 National School Climate Survey, which revealed that nine out of 10 gay students in middle school and high school have experienced harassment because of their sexual orientation. Three out of five students also felt unsafe going to school because of their sexual orientation.

I experienced discrimination after I came out as gay while I attended high school in District 186. Besides hearing remarks like, “That’s so gay,” and other similar comments, I overheard students discuss killing gay people. After reporting the incident, I received little support from faculty."

Download the full op-ed as a PDF