Gay Students Stand Up for Their Rights - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/28/03

Gay Students Stand Up for Their Rights

Many expected controversy at the Gay Straight Alliance Club meeting on Tuesday night but it didn't happen. The group held a public forum, three months after filing a federal lawsuit against the Lubbock Independent School District, to give the public a chance to hear from gay students and for discussion on the importance of a Gay Student Alliance in schools.

There were no problems at the meeting, no controversy. Just a group of people joining together asking for justice, understanding and equal rights. The Gay Straight Alliance doesn't want the Lubbock community to feel threatened or fear gays, they just want the right to assemble and talk, like all other social groups.

Ricky Waite started the fight in Lubbock, to allow a gay and lesbian group to meet on school grounds and now one year later the battle continues. "To give students the chance I never had. To be able to go and talk to someone about it. To lessen the torment that they would have to go through," says Waite.

About 150 people gathered Tuesday night under the organization of Lambda Legal with the hope of reaching out to others to clear concerns and answer questions about being gay.

'The plan is to help the community understand why a group like this is necessary and why these kids wanted to form a group like this in the first place. So they could have a safe place to talk and really find fellowship and respect with their peers," said Brian Chase, the Lambda Legal Attorney. "This isn't about sexuality. Its about justice."

Gay and straight students took to the podium, to express the need for someone to lean on, and the importance of continuing the fight. "I'm doing this because it's right. I belive all people need rights especially gay people it hurts me when I see how much my friends are suffering. No one should suffer that much and no one should be hated because of who they love and it just make me want to fight for their rights because there's this vast injustice being done and I want to see it fixed," said Mirah Curzer, a straight student.

The lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal claimed LISD wrongly barred a group from forming a Gay Straight Alliance on campus. And that the District violated the Equal Access Act, which bars discrimination against groups based on their viewpoints. As of now, the lawsuit is in the final stages and reply's are due on November 10th.

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