My letter to the editor of the Beloit Daily News:
Dear Mr. Barth:
I am writing to state that I am very disturbed by the way your reporter, Justin Weaver, has sensationalized the Zach Patterson/Beloit Memorial High School story. I am an open lesbian whose children attend Beloit Memorial High School. I spoke with Justin and asked him why he did not include the following facts in his original article: (1) Beloit Memorial High School has a Gay Straight Alliance whose purpose is to create a safe space for the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth (2) Beloit Memorial High School honors National Day of Silence, a day when the world raises awareness of suicide among LGBT youth and (3) Beloit Memorial High School has worked for years to eradicate the phrase “That’s so gay” because it’s offensive and hurtful to both LGBT people and their straight allies.
Zach Patterson was not asked to remove his “Marriage is so gay” t-shirt because it supports gay marriage. He was asked to remove the shirt because it could be misinterpreted in so many ways. As I understand it, Zach originally went to the GSA advisors and asked them what they thought of the shirt. He was told by the GSA that, because the shirt could be misinterpreted as anti-gay, it might not be a good idea to wear the shirt at school.
It’s my opinion that Justin is sensationalizing the Zach Patterson/Beloit Memorial High School because it sells papers. The Beloit Daily News is exploiting not only Zach Patterson, but the teachers and administrators who have worked so hard to protect our city’s LGBT youth.
Do you need to sell papers so bad that you’re willing to ruin the reputation of a school that has worked hard to create a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth? Do you need to sell papers so bad that you’re willing to exploit the recent rash of suicides among gay teenagers? Shame on you. Shame on Justin Weaver. And shame on the “Marriage is so gay” t-shirt company for exploiting this story for financial gain.