Dear Alice,

You have an excellent site ... I think that there is a lot of information that would be useful for high school students ... BUT (there had to be a "but") ... as webmaster for our district, I would get hung if I posted a site that had the type of lesbian and homosexual postings that you have. It would be nice if you could have a high school main page ... if the above mentioned links weren't displayed. I think it would help a lot of schools.

thanks, Jim

Dear Jim,

It's ironic that you used a metaphor of death to describe the consequences of including gay/lesbian/bisexual/questioning information on your district's site. Gay and lesbian teenagers commit suicide at two to three times the rate of their heterosexual classmates, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A 1991 study at the University of Minnesota found that out of 150 lesbian and gay young people surveyed, 30 percent of them had tried to kill themselves at least once as teenagers. On the "lighter side," there's also the verbal and physical abuse of out gay high schoolers and those merely suspected of being queer.

For these reasons alone, Alice will continue to post gay-related Q&As from and for high school and college students, and from and for many others. Much of the world yells "YOU'RE SICK AND YOU SUCK" at les/bi/gay teens. By reading questions sent in by other Go Ask Alice! readers and seeing that their own feelings and questions are echoed, queer high schoolers can say, "if so many people share my joys, fears, and fantasies, then I must be much more 'normal' than I thought."

Perhaps you anticipate the anti-inclusion argument to go something like: "We don't have a problem with homosexuals. We just don't want to promote their lifestyle." A "gay lifestyle" means going to school, seeing movies, working, and perhaps, being in love — this sounds an awful lot like the heterosexual lifestyle. The "type" of lesbian and gay questions in the Go Ask Alice! archives often resemble what's on the minds of heterosexuals.

In line with the anti-inclusion argument, wouldn't this mean that the Q&As from women who want to assert themselves in bed, from men with sexually transmitted infections, from people who are depressed, and from masturbators also should be excluded? After all, there are many among us who think dames should save their feelings for PTA meetings, only sluts get herpes, depression is nothing more than laziness, and masturbation is for sex-starved losers.

Alice loves the idea of a special high school home page (many schools already link to Go Ask Alice! as a health information resource). Erasing the gay/lesbian/bisexual/questioning stuff would shut out a huge number of readers — yours and Alice's. It would also say loud and clear both to queer and "non-queer" people: "Your lives and concerns are not as important or legitimate as those of your 'straight' peers.... There's no help for you here, and, frankly, we don't really care about your attendance, schoolwork, safety, or the increased likelihood that you'll hurt or kill yourself." This message would undoubtedly do much more harm than good, and it's certainly counter to an educator's code of ethics. A great big delete to that idea.

Jim, these thoughts are directed more at the "hangmen and -women" in your school district than they are at you. Would it be possible for you to use some of these points if and when it came time to defend reality, the whole reality, and nothing but reality?


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