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    Students #TakeAKnee at Warriors LGBT Night

    By Lyndsey Schlax

    (Editor’s Note: Teacher Lyndsey Schlax of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts launched the nation’s first on-site high school LGBT course in 2015. She has resumed teaching that groundbreaking class. In this column, her students share their thoughts about LGBT-related matters, including their concerns, what they have learned in class and more. Schlax, as well as fellow teacher Carissa Jow, wrote the introduction that follows.)

    The Warriors held their first ever LGBTQ night on October 25, and the San Francisco Bay Times asked the “Student Voices” columnists, who are students in LGBTQ Studies at Asawa SOTA, to attend and represent them. It was a privilege to be at this event, in more ways than one.

    We cheered the rainbow displays and the one lesbian couple featured on the kiss cam, watched the players warm up (and watched our students besides themselves with excitement over it), and—most powerfully for us as educators at their school—supported our students’ voices and empowerment as they chose to kneel during the National Anthem.

    The two of us, one a queer educator of color and the other a lifelong shy activist woman, did not have the words in high school to name the injustices we saw in the world, or to understand the power of our voices. Our students’ choice to join in solidarity in an act of resistance on such a big stage represents the hope and empowerment we work hard to foster in our social justice minded community.

    Warriors LGBT Night

    By Four Students (three in Grade 12 and one in Grade 11)

    At the Warriors first ever LGBT night, the walls at Oracle Arena were plastered with rainbows, and shirts were handed out. We each received a replica of the Warriors NBA championship ring. A lesbian couple appeared on the jumbotron, and we even got the trans flag on the jumbotron during halftime!

    When we received an invitation to be on the court during the National Anthem, some of us instantly wondered whether we should kneel. In the end, nine of the twelve of us did. Taking a knee during the National Anthem was absolutely thrilling.

    The act of kneeling was easy, but deciding whether or not to kneel was as complex as detangling a ball of earbuds. For the 48 hours leading up to the occasion, we mulled over what to do. Some of us only decided to kneel when our feet hit the court. In that moment, we realized that we wanted to be brave enough to be a part of the movement, and not to be fearful of the reactions it may elicit from our community.

    Why Are Most Out Athletes Women?

    Student, Grade 12

    Why are the majority of LGBTQ+ athletes females? Of the 64 out Olympians in Rio last year, only 11 were men. None of those men were from the United States. Why is this?

    Is it a reflection of the macho American culture towards men? Is it because gay men truly don’t like sports? (Editor’s Note: In answer to this question: No! See Tom Temprano’s story.) Or is it, perhaps, because being gay in the NBA, NFL, MLB, or NHL is still stigmatized?

    In 2013, Jason Collins of the NBA became the first male gay athlete of a major American sport to come out while still playing. This was just four years ago, and he has since retired from professional basketball. Although it is unlikely that Collins was the only professional male LGBTQ+ athlete in the NBA, he was the only one who was out. What can we do to help sports culture become more accepting?

    Injustice as a Whole

    Student, Grade 12

    There are many aspects as to why civil rights concerning gender, sexual orientation, and racial justice are necessary in this world. They are all connected, since each of the respective underlying communities is oppressed and is still fighting for their rights as human beings.

    Each of these groups do compete, however. That is because every group has struggled in their own way and may sometimes compare what they have gone through with other communities. Each community can inform the other, but the situation now is far from perfect. For example, a gay person of color can experience discrimination in the gay community. The oppressed can still oppress the other oppressed.

    Due to this, each community fights for justice, but in order to do that, there has to be room for having empathy towards others whose struggles may differ from their own.

    Diversity: Where We Go from Here

    Student, Grade 12

    What is injustice? Is it an inability to recognize the problems that are going on? Or is it the media’s unwillingness to own up to the issues they do not want to talk about?

    Regardless, injustice occurs every day, whether it concerns a woman getting catcalled on her walk home, or a gay teenager being called a fag down the hallway. It happens to all of us, regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

    We are one people, and we should behave like it.

    For more information about the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, please visit http://www.sfsota.org/