I am an alumni of the Edmonton Christian School; a school that promotes Christ centered education. At the time I attend ECS it was a private institution that has since fallen under the public system. My family is Buddhist but a private school was appealing to my parents as a way of keeping us away from drugs, alcohol and other things so off I went.
In March a Baptist school in Alberta was resisting the creation of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA’s). (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/education-christian-schools-lgbtq-1.4039046)
What is a GSA’s? The Alberta Government defines it as:
Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and queer-straight alliances (QSAs) are peer support networks that promote welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students and their allies.
So what does this have to do with me? Well acceptance has been a central theme in my recovery and looking back at where I learned some of the self-destructive behaviours that I exhibited as an adult my time in high school has been a formative source of dysfunction. I have learned that as teenager’s individuals develop a sense of style, a sense of self and a sense of whom they are. During my teenage years, I was trying to change my sexual orientation. I felt rejected in the Christian school, the majority of the students were of the Christian Reformed denomination who at the time expressed that homosexuality was a sin, it was disgusting, it was a choice and you could change the way you felt. I missed that stage of development and much of what I am currently doing in therapy is trying to find my authentic self as a lesbian.
Again I am going to use Star Trek to express my feelings. Worf is a security officer of an alien species that works on the star ship Enterprise surrounded by humans. Worf replaces a security officer that is killed off in season 1 and enters the show as a dark skinned individual with his own culture. What is interesting is when Worf is around his alien race, the Klingon, he doesn’t fit in because he of his choice to work on the Enterprise.
I relate to Worf in that I entered a primarily Caucasian school as a person of colour where many of the students had been together since kindergarten, went to church together and even lived in the same neighbourhood. In my family I felt like an outsider as I was not as intellectually gifted as my siblings, I was a tom boy and I didn’t feel like I belonged.
Looking back, I feel that a gay straight alliance would have been a lifesaver. Maybe I would have attended, maybe I would not have or maybe I would of pretended to be straight and ignored the entire thing. But a seed would have been planted, instead of feeling like the only gay person in that school, instead of expecting anger and rejection from everyone in my life maybe I would have understood that I was not alone, I was not on my own and I was not a disgusting individual for having feelings towards women.
In my experience ideas grow, a seed is planted it starts small and it grows as you feed it. I fed the belief that I could be straight with lies, I lied to myself and others for more than a decade and lying became the mechanism by which I would relate to people.
GSA’s are not gay celebration factories or a conspiracy to overthrow the straight people of the world. A GSA’s may have sent the message that I am not alone in this; instead I learned that lesson through a suicide attempt.