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SNAP: Different = Amazing

For decades, if not centuries, bullying has been a menace to communities across the country, resulting not only in wounded bodies and psyches, but sometimes in the suicides of those who endure it. Although youth of any race, gender identity, religion or sexual orientation can experience bullying, an alarming 80 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students have been bullied at school. Thus, every queer adult should be concerned about protecting our children and teenagers. And while direct actions, such as talking to teachers, school administrators and school board members can have the most positive and immediate results, we should not forget the role the arts play in shaping a kinder, gentler and more aware world. On Nov. 14 the Human Rights Education Center will present Different = Amazing, a one-night only performance of dance, music and monologues celebrating the phenomenon of human diversity and speaking out against oppression and cruelty. Everyone who can should attend — and in particular, people who remain unconvinced that bullying is really a problem.

SLAP: Alama Uluave and Mark Maxfield

Speaking of bullying, why are two members of the Salt Lake City School Board not doing more to prevent it? This fall, the board has discussed adding sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy, but a few members — namely Ulauve and Maxfield — have balked at adding gender identity as well. Maxfield (who was unseated during this election) called a policy with a loophole through which transgender and non-gender conforming students can fall “sufficient,” while Ulauve called the addition “too controversial” and “experimenting with social policy.” Their words are not only sad and troubling commentary about the prevalence of transphobia, but a reminder that anti-trans bullying often receives even less attention and concern than bullying against gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Maxfield and Ulauve should be ashamed of themselves for failing to take a stand for all of Utah’s students (all of whom, by the way, have a gender identity as well as a sexual orientation). And those of us in the school district should let both men know exactly how their stance will hurt already vulnerable students.

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