English charity wants LGBT school, focus should be tolerance

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The issue of gay rights has sparked debates around the world in recent years. From Supreme Court battles for gay marriage in the United States to anti-gay laws being passed in Uganda, the issue of gay rights is in no doubt at the center of human rights discourse today.

LGBT Youth North West, a charity for the rights of gay youth has joined into the gay-rights movement by setting plans to open the first school for LGBT youth in Manchester, England.

“[The school] will be LGBT-inclusive, but not exclusive,” said Strategic Director for LGBT Youth North West Amelia Lee.

It is obvious that segregating the LGBT youth will not solve any of the deeply rooted issues regarding the bullying and discrimination that the students face.

The issues that gay and transgender students face in schools today are similar to the issues that black people faced in the days of segregation in America.

Segregation was not a successful way of creating unity between the blacks and the whites; it was simply a way of keeping them apart.

While black people were safer being separate from whites in the United States, they realized that nothing had changed.

There was still hatred and there were still hate crimes. The only way that they could truly address the problem was by desegregating the nation and allowing people to interact with each other.

This same principle applies in this case of segregating LGBT students to a specialized school.

Although the LGBT students might feel safer and more accepted at the new school, the fact still remains that some of their peers will see them as lesser.

At the end of the day, they will be riding in trains with non-LGBT people, dining in restaurants with non-LGBT people and visiting stores with non-LGBT people. The fact still remains that they live in a world with people who will agree and disagree with them, and that the LGBT school cannot protect them from it all.

Creating this specialized school for the LGBT students is sending a message that the LGBT students are the problem and therefore must be removed. It is ignoring the actual problem, which is intolerant youth that will grow up into intolerant citizens.

Rather than removing LGBT students from regular school, organizations should put more effort into educating young people about interacting with different people, and the importance of being tolerant.

It is clear that sometimes regular schooling can be extremely dangerous for LGBT students who face severe bullying, but the optimal way to protect LGBT students today and in the future is by finding ways of protecting the students while still keeping them in their schools and teaching the other students about tolerance.

While organizations like LGBT Youth North West have good intentions, they fail to realize that in the future, they will be dead and gone, and these students — LGBT and straight — will have to live in this world together. So,they need to be equipped in tolerating each other even in disagreement.

The only way to truly create a safe world for LGBT students is to keep them in the regular schools. The process will be difficult for the LGBT students as it already is. But it is necessary if we are truly concerned about not only creating a safe tomorrow, but also an accepting one.