It gets better later. But you could stand to be a little less gay now.
Such is the message that has an Alberta school trustee apologizing today after the "inappropriate" remark was made during a board meeting earlier this week.
The CBC reports that the Alberta School Boards Association was debating a proposal that would protect gay students from bullying and discrimination when trustee Dale Schaffrick first made the suggestion.
The proposal, based on a policy passed by the Edmonton school board last year, was eventually rejected.
"If children with a gay tendency appear a certain way, we know that we have to be vigilant to make sure they are not discriminated against," Schaffrick later told CBC.
When asked if the students should try to be less identifiably gay he said, "I think for their own benefit ... it would be helpful."
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The suggestion that homosexual students would be best served to play down their personalities understandably upset gay-rights advocates and students. The concept flies in the face of an ongoing "It Gets Better" campaign designed to help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered men and women survive the struggles they face in their youth.
Recently a group of B.C. Mounties joined the cause by releasing a video relating their own stories of coming out.
Schaffrick's apology was posted on the Pembina Hills school division website:
I want to apologize for my remarks at the ASBA Fall General Meeting. They were inappropriate and offensive. I apologize. It's important to clarify also that I was speaking as an individual trustee and not on behalf of the Pembina Hills Regional Division School Board.
It should be noted that Schaffrick was among the majority of trustees that opposed the anti-bullying bill, which was designed specifically to protect sexual minorities.
The group preferred an overarching policy that protected everyone, but advocates say that will not do enough to address the specific challenges faced by the gay and lesbian community.
So it is not as if Schaffrick doesn't want gay and lesbian students to be protected from bullying, he just doesn't believe they need any more protection than anyone else.
And if they would just take his suggestion and hide who they are, that plan will probably work just fine.