September 28, 2008

Steps in the Right Direction

Today, I got a Facebook message from someone on the yearbook staff, asking me to write about why I campaign for Obama for the community section.

"Before you turn me down..." she said. I was confused: Why did she think I would turn her down right away? She continued: "I read your blog entry about the yearbook."

Oh. Crap.

For those of you who don't remember my livejournal days, I ended the year with a critique of the yearbook and its lack of coverage of our school's sizable LGBT community. I also might have said a few harsh words about the yearbook staff being made entirely of white, straight, upper-middle-class prep-girls who made up quotes.

..Yeaaah. So, after running back to make sure I hadn't said anything TOO offensive in that particular blog post, I went back to read the rest of my yearbook friend's message.

Ever since I decided to cover the election, I’ve been thinking about asking you to write something, but after reading your entry, I’m certain that your input is necessary. Your blog opened my eyes. We do need more coverage of the gay community. Unfortunately, we are a very censored publication, and because of that it’s hard to please everyone. We end up pleasing only the administration. ...

Anyway, I would like your permission to share your blog entry with my section editors, in hopes that we can work in some more coverage. ... I’m sure we could work something in. Being that we are so censored, it wouldn’t be too in depth, but it would be something. I think the main issue here is lack of understanding. There is lack of understanding between sexual orientations. The staff members who covered those stories last year were most likely straight girls who went to straight couples for their story.

As editors, we encourage diversity of race, gender, and age, but sexual orientation has never come up. Now, I will make sure that our staff is encouraged to cover a variety of sexual orientations as well. ... I would also like to note that our yearbook staff is far more diverse than last year. We have many different ages and races on the staff this year. We also have four boys on the staff this year, one of which is openly gay. We’re making progress in the right direction, and that makes me very happy.

I really about jumped for joy. And I jumped even higher when she gave me permission to blog about it.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm really proud of how open my school is towards queer kids, and this absolutely confirmed it for me. Who cares if the administration are mean and censoring? The students (or at least the ones I hang out with, which is admittedly limited to primarily AP and arts kids) are so amazingly supportive, and so are most of the teachers. We have occasional fights with the principal or moments of intolerance, but I think my yearbook friend definitely got it right when she said we're moving in the right direction, and I'm so, so thrilled that I get to be a part of it.

No comments: