If there’s one thing I’m proud of at San Diego State, it’s the open-mindedness of our campus to the gay community. Recently, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender major was created at SDSU to study the ins and outs of the gay community, gay life and gay rights. SDSU also hosts a thorough collection of gay and gay-friendly clubs and organizations, and not to be outdone, also added the rainbow flag to its flagpole in support of equality and acceptance. I consider what has been accomplished at our school in the last few years truly unrivaled; that is, until I read about Rebeca Arellano and her girlfriend Haileigh Adams, who were crowned the first-ever lesbian homecoming king and queen at Patrick Henry High School.
Apparently San Diego is the place to start creating change, because these two young ladies, with the support of their fellow classmates, have taken one huge step toward equality and widespread acceptance and even made national news. That Friday night pep rally in October may very well have been the best night of these girls’ lives, and Arellano’s Facebook page certainly shows it. Nearly 1,000 friends and hundreds of wall posts have been posted congratulating, thanking and praising the amazing statement these young girls and their supportive classmates have made for the gay community as a whole.
On Nov. 1 Arellano posted on her Facebook page: “I would really love to reply to every message or wall post, but that is impossible. So, thank you everyone for your kind words and encouraging messages. It feels amazing to know that so many people support us and what we’re fighting for. Although I can’t respond to every message, I do read every single one, and they definitely make me smile. So thank you PHHS students for giving Haileigh and I this unforgettable experience.”
Despite the slew of hate mail from around the country sent to the school and the ladies themselves, PHHS staff and administration fully support the outcome and all that it means. San Diego City Schools Superintendent Bill Kowba told Los Angeles Times the adults displaying criticism against these young girls are “demonstrating such a lack of tolerance and are presenting such a negative role model for children with their hateful comments.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is a generation of change, a generation of acceptance and differences. We are not our parents’ generation, and that is exactly what makes us unique. There was a time when an African-American was not considered a person. There was a time when women could not work, vote, act, write or escape the stereotype of barefooted and pregnant in the kitchen. There was a time when it was taboo to have a man and a woman of different ethnicities date, marry or bear children.
Today is no longer that time. We live in a different time and these young girls, not yet women, are making a more sensible statement than many adult public figures these days.
Gay is in and no one is going to stop it. It’s not a trend and it certainly isn’t something your kids are going to learn from school or hanging with the wrong crowd. This old-school, traditional way of thinking is barring the open-mindedness of those who resent the lifestyle of those such as Arellano and Adams.
This is no new lifestyle, but now it is in your face. It is in the media, the military, the government, the school systems and it is quickly becoming the norm that people who fear change have tried hard to suppress. But I’m not buying that anymore.
Thank you Arellano and Adams and Patrick Henry High School students: Together you all have made a nationally recognized statement and put us all one step closer to establishing the equality everyone deserves.