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'All the Cool Girls are Lesbians' - Who I am and what really happened

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Published on Mar 13, 2012

Letter to the mayor of Lynn:

Dear Mayor Kennedy, On Friday January 27, I was sitting with my friends in the cafeteria at lunch. A teacher came up to me and told me to go show Mr. O'Hagan my shirt. Obediently, I did. My shirt said "All the cool girls are lesbians." When I went to see Mr. O'Hagan, he agreed with the teacher that it was "inappropriate". When I asked why, I was told because it is "political" and "offensive to some people." I was told to immediately leave the cafeteria and go get my jacket to cover up the shirt and to never wear it again. Well, frankly I'm the one who feels offended. A student could wear an anti-gay shirt and nothing would be said about it. For example, let's just say a student wore a shirt that read "Straight don't hate." I highly doubt anyone would have said anything about that shirt. The student handbook states the following about student appearance: "Shirts advertising tobacco, alcoholic beverages, or advocating drug use, or those with obscene printing, violence of any kind, or printing considered by the principal to be inappropriate, will not be permitted." The word lesbian is not inappropriate. Saying it is, is calling homosexuality inappropriate. The word lesbian does not mean sex, just as heterosexual or straight does not mean sex. It states that you are interested in a specific gender. This is discrimination. Under section IV H of the student handbook on harassment, it states the following: "Sexual orientation harassment consists of physical or verbal conduct which is related to an individual's sexual orientation when the conduct: 1. Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or work environment; 2. Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance; 3. Otherwise adversely affects an individual's academic or work opportunities." This is not simply about me being told to not wear a shirt again. This is about homosexuality being deemed inappropriate. Chapter 76, Section 5 of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits both sex and sexual orientation discrimination in its schools, whether committed by schools employees or fellow students. Chapter 71, Section 82 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that the right of students to freedom of expression in the public schools of the commonwealth shall not be abridged, provided that such right shall not cause any disruption or disorder within the school. Under this section, it states that freedom of expression shall include without limitation, the rights and responsibilities of students, collectively and individually, (a) to express their views through speech and symbols, (b) to write, publish and disseminate their views, (c) to assemble peaceably on school property for the purpose of expressing their opinions. This incident also contradicts the fact that we have a Gay-Straight-Alliance at our school. It is our right to have a GSA at the school and it is also a right to be openly gay. Homosexuality is a character attribute. I can assure you I am not the only gay student in our school; male or female. There are hundreds. They are not all open about it, but that is irrelevant. I am a young lady who stands up for what I believe in. I feel as if my rights have been violated. It makes me a little uneasy that by being myself and being proud of that that I was scrutinized and disciplined like a girl who was wearing a shirt too low. Not to mention the fact that the shirt I was wearing was being compared to politics. We frequently discuss political matters in history class. I am a good student and I am not looking for trouble or chaos. I am simply standing for what I believe in. And that is something that nearly any adult would encourage a student to do.

**I am always here for all of you.

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