Kind teachers, flags make all the difference

I spent 11 years in the Federal Way Public Schools before the days when pride flags and safe stickers could be found in classrooms, but I still turned out gay.

I read with interest the letter to the editor, published in the Dec. 21 edition of the Mirror, in which Mary Locke worries that teachers and other officials in Federal Way are trying to recruit children into the homosexual lifestyle, as she puts it, by displaying the pride flag and “Safe Space” stickers.

I spent 11 years in the Federal Way Public Schools before the days when these things could be found in classrooms, but I still turned out gay. Supportive teachers have nothing to do with whether someone is gay or not. Instead, they affect whether a gay kid hides in the closet, terrified of people like Ms. Locke, as I did, or feels that he belongs in this world.

It should be obvious, but stickers, flags and kind teachers don’t make a person gay any more than intolerance, neglect and cruel parents can make him straight, but they can make all the difference in whether our children have miserable or productive childhoods. I am glad Federal Way is moving in the right direction.

Tyler Rosenbaum

Santa Monica, California

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