I remember sitting in a high school classroom years ago with a student with tears in her eyes. We had hung a rainbow flag from her school’s balcony shortly before a listening session about the results of an LGBTQQIA+ wellness survey. “I never thought I’d see the flag flying at my school. I’ve felt so isolated here,” she told us. Earlier we had shared the devastating data of the huge percentage of LGBTQQIA+ youth who reported being sad and hopeless (75%) and the number who had thought about or attempted suicide (77%). Other students I spoke with said that seeing a rainbow flag flying at their school would definitely make them feel more welcome and safe.
I was saddened to read that two San Mateo Union High School District trustees voted against raising a pride flag during June and grateful that two other trustees voted yes. A fifth trustee who wasn’t present has requested a revote likely on June 4. Trustees opposed to raising the flag used the tried and untrue “slippery slope” defense, asking what other flags might they have to raise? “How about the Confederate flag or the 49ers or SF Giants?” trustees asked.
For decades, people opposed to same-gender marriage asked, “What’s next? People marrying their cats and dogs?” My husband and I were the first two men to get a license to be married in San Mateo County in 2008 and Fluffy and Whiskers seem just fine. The slippery slope I worry most about is the one that leads from despair to self-harm. Trustees, please join most of the cities and towns and the county of San Mateo and raise the pride flag in June.