OP: Openly gay school in New York

New York to Open Gay High School

New York City is set to create America's first public secondary school specifically devoted to gay, bisexual and transgender students.

By Guardian Newspapers, 7/28/2003

New York City is set to create America's first public secondary school specifically devoted to gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The Harvey Milk High School, named after San Fransisco's first openly gay supervisor who was assassinated in 1978, will enrol about 100 students this autumn in a newly renovated building in Greenwich Village.

The new school's principal, William Salzman, said its curriculum will be academically challenging for the 14- to 18-year-olds, and will follow mandatory English and maths courses while specialising in computer technology, arts and cookery.

"This school will be a model for the country and possibly the world," said Mr Salzman, a former Wall Street executive. "We intend to have 95% of our students go on to college. We want to steer these kids in the right direction."

The school is supported by New York's republican mayor, Michael Bloomberg. "I think everybody feels that it's a good idea because some of the kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools," he said yesterday. "It lets them get an education without having to worry."

The number of hate crimes against gays and lesbians almost doubled in America between 1992 and 2002.

But establishment of the school drew criticism from rightwingers, who believe a separate school is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Is there a different way to teach homosexuals?" asked New York's conservative party chairman, Mike Long. "Is there gay math? This is wrong. What next? Maybe we should have schools for chubby kids who get picked on."

The school will be an expansion on a 19-year-old alternative public school programme previously limited to just two classrooms.

That programme was founded by the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a gay rights youth advocacy group, which will continue to play a leading role in the new school.



Posted: 30 Sep 22:54


I saw this article when it was published. I have very mixed feelings on the topic.

Rawbob, I agree that the gay teen suicide rate is horrendous- higher than for any other group. I am also well acquainted with gay-bashing. Not personally, but I have friends who were. I have personal experience with discrimination in the workplace. The idea that these children would have a safe and accepting environment is very appealing. But is it truly doing them a favor?

We all begin to learn how to deal with the world around us from what we experience in school. What happens when these kids reach college level and want to go to a regular school? Will they be one of the ones hazed to death by bigoted frat brothers?

Admittedly, gay people tend to self-segregate-all groups do(like to like)-but I can't feel that is the right answer. Diversity equals strength. That is what we should be teaching our kids. It's just easier to separate them. Unfortunately, the easy path is seldom the right one.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:54

I certainly do feel sorry for them when they step out in the real world and learn harshly and quickly that it isn't a big happy accepting place, like the nice little school they've been able to hide in for the last x years.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:55

I think it is wrong that they are doing that... even though i am 17 and are very accepting to gay people... have gay friends... and are a little gay myself. It is just breaking gay people off from the rest of the world. Sure they will feel confortable..but when school is over and they have to go out into the new world then what are they to feel about different people. For schools around the country who teach tolerance and respect..then they are being hypicritical. Why separate yourselfs. Didn't the 50's and 60's teach you anything... are people even reading History books instead of just seeing what is best for people who are different according to their standards? Next thing you know they will be putting up separate bathroom stalls for gay people.
It is outragious.
Why separate these beautiful people from everyone else? No one is teaching tolerance and respect anymore.... a part of me goes horrah and then another part goes well ... people should be more accepting ... but they aren't.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:55

Its just an opening for more segregation.. except they're doing it to themselves.

I personally don't agree with homosexuality because of my religious beliefs (no, I'm not going to argue about it), but in America at least they're free to be gay if they want to be... I don't think they should break away from the rest of the world, it'll only cause problems in the long run.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:55

I don't think it's a good idea. All that money they spend on that school could be used instead on programs oriented to facilitate the adaptation of the gay students in to any school they want, where not only they are the beneficiaries but all the other students too, since every one will learn to live in harmony with each other.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:55

I'm glad someone posted an article about this. I had been planning to do so myself.

I think this is a bad idea. Segregation did not make life easier for African Americans, and I doubt that it will make life easier for gays. However, the only media attention I have seen on this issue has been against the idea. I would be interested in seeing what the arguments in favor are.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:55

Ok, being a GAY MAN, who has a 13 year old son from a prior marriage, i feel that i need to reply!

While i'm VERY happy to hear so many people on this site say how accepting they are of gay people, are they ALSO willing to step in when they see a gay persone being harassed at school, or do you just keep walking and "not get involved"

Put simply, It is estimated that a teen in the United States takes his or her own life every 5 hours because he or she is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

If you look back at many of the teen-on-teen murders in schools today, including Columbine HS, it was prompted by teens who felt harassed, teased and TAUNTED as being gay, even tho they were not!

While we in the gay community work every day to prove that we should be involved in mainstream society, and that we're not "different," teens and school-aged children don't really have the capacity to understand waht it really means to BE gay.

Clearly, there is a need to have a "safe" place for these kids if they are to grow up with any modicum of self-worth, and i do NOT adhere to the posts that talk about segregation.

If you look into the school's charter, it's about providing a SAFE envrionment for gay children to learn. To be able to go to class and NOT be beaten up, harassed and teased. We all know how cruel children can be, and to have this as a resource is a necessary thing and does NOT harken some overt decision by the gay community to SEPARATE from mainstream society.

Think about the children!


Posted: 30 Sep 22:56

I think then... that schools should do more... like have clubs for gay people... where they know they are not alone... or have tighter punishments for kids who are threatening these kids.... later to find they are dead. See in Columbine i heard that none of the teachers really did anything... they knew about it just never did anything. My point is that these kids( the non gay ones) need to learn to be accept of different people. Our media messes up many of our heads... on mtv having tv shows where gay people are portrayed as excentric type woman but not all gay people are like that. Our media on movies makes fun of people who are trans-gender. No one is nice anymore and it is all to do with our media. Why separate yourself from the problem it is not their fault it is the people who don't accept anymore. Don't move the gay people away from the problem HELL MAKE AN ASSEMBLY ON TOLERANCE AND RESPECT ON DIFFERENT PEOPLE, MAKE SURE THEY KEEP A TIGHT EYE ON PEOPLE HARASSING PEOPLE BUT DON'T LOCK UP THESE PEOPLE IN A SCHOOL WHERE THEY DO FEEL SAFE BUT WHEN THEY COME OUT IN TO LIFE, don't really know how to be tough and accept that some people are mean angry people about this. They need to be tough and realize what the real world is just like the rest of us and i strongly beleive more teachers should get involved and that to see when these things are happening AND DOING SOEMTHING ABOUT IT. I would say sure woman are being abused and stuff why not make an all girls school. Well they already have those too and all black school. Which i don't agree with those either but that is a whole different story. Just people need to learn to not be assholes and actually start loving again. I saw a thing of Discovery Health Channel on Trans-gender people. And i, personally think from seeing that show that whatever they come out to be is what they should be cuz that is how your paren't made you plus there is all the feeling they have inside that once the DOCTORS make a them a woman at 3 weeks of age when they get older they feel like a man and get severly depressed, but anyways and there was this community of people, in like maybe Mexico i forgot, and they wre accepting of this trans-gneder person and the whole village was too... there were kids like him and trans-gender people were very much accepted But the thing that is wrong with this communtity of people we call the U.S. is that people would look down upon that instead of looking right at their face and treating them like a normal person. People just aren't accepting in this world any more and it is sad.

Instead of a school... why not make it a place where they council and take care of people who are depress cuz they are gay or don't know who tey are... or perhaps a summercamp where gay people for one summer can talk to people without being afraid of who is watching about thier feelings. But not a schooll.... where tolerance and respect should have been already taught.

And personally i think teenagers are getting a lot better. All of my friends and people i know are very accepting of gay people... and would step up and take the fight for them anyday... if that was done in the 50's there would be no one to step up... but today their are a lot of teenagers and not so much older adults... who think being gay is fine and who are saying... well i am gay too or bisexual so our teenagers will be more accepting as time goes by... and more people are coming out at an earlier age now instead of in the 50's where they came out like in their 30's.


Posted: 30 Sep 22:56

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