ACMi-21
Media partner

Site stats: August traffic | Cambridge Day: News >> 

Your View (site blog, not mine personally)

Your View is the place for opinion at YourArlington.com. It is the site's only blog. Please submit your opinions to be considered for publication on this site. The best opinions are those supported by facts. You cannot expect to be published if your views lack factual support or if you make personal attacks. For your views to be published, your full, real name is required.
4 minutes reading time (724 words)

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong

Submitting the following news summary including opinion about a community conversation were Susan Ryan-Vollmar, cochair of the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, and Christine Carney, cochair of the Human Rights Commission.
Dr. Rod MacNeal at community conversationDr. Roderick MacNeal at community conversation.

We’re only a quarter of the way through 2022, but the year has already been a tough one for LGBTQIA+ people, especially transgender children and adolescents and their parents.

Lawmakers across the country have filed a record-breaking 238 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills, with discriminatory policies put in place in Texas and anti-LGBTQIA+ measures signed into law in Tennessee, Florida and Alabama. Most of these measures aim to silence LGBTQIA+ children and families, prevent transgender kids from playing sports and block gender-diverse children from receiving medically necessary health care.

But the town of Arlington recently sent a different message altogether to its LGBTQIA+ children, adolescents and families.

Straight-forward view

That message was a simple one: We love you just the way you are.

On March 29, the Arlington Public School’s LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Task Force, the Arlington Human Rights Commission and the Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission jointly sponsored an “LGBTQIA+ Community Conversation” at Arlington Town Hall. About 80 students, parents, teachers and other community members showed up to hear LGBTQIA+ students talk about what it’s like to attend school in Arlington and what they like best about their schools.

Many of the attendees were middle and high school students, a number of whom wore transgender Pride flags as capes.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roderick MacNeal, who chairs the Arlington Public Schools LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Task Force, welcomed attendees. He provided an overview of the most recent results from the Arlington portion of the Middlesex League Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The Middlesex League effort surveys students in 11 school districts in Middlesex County to capture vital information related to health status and behaviors that can put the health of students in middle and high school at-risk. In addition to Arlington, the communities of Belmont, Burlington, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn and Watertown also participate.

Main takeaways

Key findings related to mental health found that about one-quarter of Arlington High School students (27 percent) and middle school students (23 percent) reported that their mental health was “not good most of the time or always.” Among all students, cisgender male students reported the lowest rates of mental health issues, with 13 percent of high school and 15 percent of middle school students reporting that their mental health was “not good most of the time or always.”

Genderqueer students, loosely defined as LGBTQIA+ students, reported the highest rates of mental health issues, with 68 percent of high school students and 52 percent of middle school students reporting that their mental health was “not good most of the time or always.”

By contrast, 30 percent of black high school and middle school students of all genders and 32 percent of cisgender female high school students and 29 percent of cisgender female middle school students reported that their mental health was “not good most of the time or always.”

Impact of stigma

The numbers are a sobering reminder of the negative impact that stigma and discrimination based on anti-LGBTQIA+ beliefs can have. Such beliefs, when held by parents, faith leaders, school officials and other community leaders can be devastating.

The community conversation was moderated by Jeff Perotti, the founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Students.

Three students from Arlington High School’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, a parent of one of the students, a middle school teacher and a graduate of Arlington Public Schools talked about ways that teachers and other staff can be strong allies to LGBTQIA+ students. Strategies can range from putting rainbow stickers on a classroom door and disclosing pronouns in a matter of fact way at the start of the school year.

Students said that the most powerful thing teachers can do, however, is to confront intolerant behavior immediately and facilitate discussion that leads to greater understanding.

The next Community Conversation is set for 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Arlington Town Hall. You can register for the event here >> 
 

March 18, 2022: Support Ukraine, oppose bias: Town groups seek action; watch ACMi videos

 


This new summary, which includes opinion, was published Tuesday, April 12, 2022. 

Alewife Brook sewage campaign: Dredgery, Globe not...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Sunday, 25 September 2022
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.yourarlington.com/

YOUR VIEW: Opinions: Medford St., AFD, ACMi, sources, poetry, Mugar, Alewife

Latest comments

Bob Sprague Letters: Emailing Advocate & Star? Copy it here; it'll be published first
17 January 2022
Let the public know with a letter to the editor. For details, see https://www.yourarlington.com/easy...

Your Businesses

Your People

Sue and Jeff Thompson

Couple stays upbeat despite worsening health challenges

Sue and Jeff Thompson face trials, keep smiling. UPDATED Sept. 18: On July 19 it was one year since Jeff Thompson was diagnosed with ALS, and during that time his condition has worsened. But he and his wife, Sue, have learned some important lessons: Be prepared before the next thing happens so…
Robbie Khazan

AHS grad's nonprofit teaches tech skills in Kenya, Ukraine

Robbie Khazan UPDATED Aug. 23: Recent Arlington High School graduate Robbie Khazan is working to teach computer-science skills to underprivileged children around the world with his nonprofit organization Kiddo Byte. He was recently awarded a scholarship for his efforts with Kiddo Byte. Khazan, 18,…

Housing Authority

FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below

 



Support YourArlington

An informed Arlington
keeps democracy alive
:

Why we are your news source >>

Donate Button

YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Your Arts

Your Events

Your Police, Fire

Your Democracy

Your Housing

Site Partners