GSAs and other LGBT-inclusive clubs have been present in many high schools across the country for some time now. And as states lift bans on marriage equality and people become more progressive, teachers are trying to incorporate these clubs into middle schools, as well.
The idea is that students are never too young to learn about the value of diversity or acceptance of others. Middle school is not the easiest time for anyone, but being an LGBT student during those years can make it particularly rough. LGBT students are often targeted for bullying and have not yet figured out the path to self-acceptance. So the logical response is to bring GSAs and other clubs alike to middle schoolers, because why should they have to wait until high school to meet other kids with similar beliefs?
Former Rep. Allen West says that doing this is a part of the "homosexual-transgender movement". In a detailed article published on his personal web site on Saturday, West explained how "LGBT activists" are pushing for "gay clubs" in middle schools, which will ultimately destroy their children and the future of America. For those who are not familiar with Allen West or his usual political jargon, "LGBT activists" are really any people who believe in LGBT-equality, and "gay clubs" are LGBT-inclusive clubs, such as GSAs.
While his whole article outlines how incorporating GSAs into middle schools will have a generally negative impact on students and society at large, West makes some claims that are particularly far-fetched. For starters, he compares these clubs to "Christian clubs":
...can you imagine if there was a conference of Christians that brought together teachers, activists, and supportive administrators to promote “Christian clubs” in schools? Oh yeah, I can hear it now: the separation of church and state diatribe. So why is there not a greater outrage over the GLSEN conference? Riiight, it’s trendy and culturally acceptable to be gay — but that whole Christian thing? Archaic and antiquated. Being a Christian is mean and intolerant.
Making this comparison blatantly equates sexuality to religiousness, which has so many things wrong with it. And labelling a certain sexual orientation as "trendy" suggests that there is some sort of choice about whether or not one is gay, which there is not. In keeping with the comparisons to religion, West asserts that a Day of Silence shouldn't be allowed in schools so long as prayer is not allowed. Once again, let's just remember that sexual orientation has nothing to do with the belief in a higher spirit.
Later in his article, West offers other words that highlight his uninformedness, such as when he referred to "that tolerance thing" and suggested that middle school is too young for someone to be identifying as LGBT. Additionally, in response to the idea that schools should be safe places where students can openly and honestly express themselves, West says the following:
By the way, “safe environment” is the Orwellian term for a school that aggressively enforces pro-”LGBT” sexual ideology and suppresses all dissent.
These comments are offensive to so many groups of people on so many levels. GSAs provide LGBT youth and allies with the opportunities to unite, grow, and form bonds in ways that might not have otherwise been possible. If you would like to read more about GSAs, visit more of GLAAD's blog posts here: http://www.glaad.org/tags/gsa.