Gay + Lesbian Youth – Making History

REBECCA SPENSE: On February 25th, 1993, The Commission released it’s report “Making Schools Safe: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families”. One of the chief recommendations was to create student support and education groups called “Gay Straight Alliances”.

New England Cable News
February 25th, 1993

NARRATOR: Governor Weld’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth released their findings on making schools safe for gay and lesbian students. It reported that 98 percent of students hear homophobic comments often, and 60 percent would be afraid to admit to their friends if they were gay. 17 year old, Jessica Byers knows that fear first hand. The high school senior is a member of Weld’s commission.

JESSICA BYERS: I’d like to start by reading you something in my diary when I was a 14 year old freshmen. I know that being gay is not something you choseā€¦ It just happens. I don’t want to be a Lesbian though. It would be so hard. I can’t really do anything about it now, but if anyone knew it would be awful. I know kids my age would never accept this kind of thing. If anyone ever reads this, I’ll die.

NARRATOR: A recent report confirmed that thirty percent of the teens who try to commit suicide are those grappling with their sexuality.

JESSICA BYERS: My experience seems really mild now, compared to the horror stories I have heard. Coming out should not be the terrifying process that it is.

NARRATOR: The study found that overall students supported the gay straight alliance, but responses from females and males were drastically different. The majority of girls supported the group. The majority of boys didn’t. Boys were also twice as likely to say discrimination against gays was acceptable.