February 25th I had the pleasure of speaking to the students at the Harvey Milk High School. It was my second time. Two years ago I gave a lecture on child sexual abuse and molestation. This year I spoke to the students about sex education and at the end, we played a round of medical jeopardy. It was so much fun. These students are fortunate to have an environment in which they can learn that promotes individuality and supports their sexual identity. After a while, I stopped wondering who was a boy and who was a girl and just learned to accept the students as young adults. It was complete 180 degree from the high school experience I had back in the 80′s where I attended an all boys private Jesuit brothers high school. Despite the fact that it was a Catholic school, I learned very little about acceptance and kindness. I graduated in three years instead of four. Mainly because I hated high school. I felt completely foreign to the other boys.
After my first lecture at the Harvey Milk High School, I was invited to their prom. Since I hadn’t gone to my own, I graciously accepted. Chad and I went together. We even have one of those cheesy photographs of us sitting on a huge wicker chair in front of a tropical backdrop. We drank virgin cocktails and danced to rap music. When they announced Blessing, a female dressed in a tuxedo, as king of the prom, I knew I had just experienced something I would not soon forget.
I strongly urge everyone to make donations in support of the Hetrick-Martin Institute and the Harvey Milk High School. LGBTQ youths are three times more likely to drop out of school, two times less likely to go to college, and a majority of them report being verbally harassed at school. For 30 years The Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, has been giving these young people an opportunity of a lifetime. Please visit www.hmi.org and make a donation.