AN OPEN LETTER TO OKLAHOMA PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS
ILGA Implores Public School Officials to add Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protections to School Rules
Superintendent Bob Moore
Oklahoma City Public Schools
900 N. Klein Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Brussels, Belgium, August 17th 2005
Dear Superintendent Moore,
We are writing to urge you to explicitly add sexual orientation to the Okalahoma City Public Schools’ non-discrimination policy. ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, is an organisation that federates more than 400 local and national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups across the globe. Our goal is to put an end to the discrimination, harassment, physical attacks and moral abuse that LGBT people suffer all over the world.
As you know, adolescence is an extremely important time in human development. What happens to a child at this age can profoundly affect the rest of that person’s life. At a time when one assumes his or her role in society, being different from others can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome for social acceptance. When one is born lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, adolescence is even harder as the person has no references or support around them. As an ethnic or racial minority, one usually has people with whom to share their experiences as a minority, i.e. parents and family. In the large majority of the cases, an LGBT person has none of these supports, nobody to talk to or confide in. This makes them an especially vulnerable group, a group that needs protection.
This is not a question of “promoting” homosexuality; including sexual orientation in the school’s non-discrimination policy is simply a tool to help prevent the discrimination, harassment, physical attacks and moral abuse that lead too many LGBT youth towards academic failure, drug use, thoughts of despair and suicide. Mr. Superintendent, LGBT youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, these are not just numbers, they are young people whose lives have been destroyed due to the ignorance and hate of others. As a school official, you have a responsibility to look after the safety and well-being of those entrusted to your care, not just to some, but to all. Please, add sexual orientation to racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination that a proud society will no longer tolerate to Oklahoma City Public Schools’ non-discrimination policy.
On behalf of ILGA co-Secretaries General
Kursad Kahramanoglu and Rosanna Flamer-Caldera