On a Saturday night in February, the high school cafeteria was festooned with crepe paper streamers and Valentine decorations. Music was playing, a colored light ball was rotating. Some teens were blowing bubbles. The entrance was a curtain of rainbow streamers.
There were your usual party snacks: chips, pretzels, pizza, soda, juice. A unique touch: a station making Unicorn Hot Chocolate, which is just like regular hot chocolate with the addition of whipped cream, Lucky Charms, and rainbow sprinkles.
Students took charge of greeting guests, giving out name tags and glow-stick bracelets and necklaces. In fact, students were in charge of every aspect of this meet-and-greet event: planning, publicity, buying supplies, running activities, set up and clean up. Students stood out for hours in freezing cold January weather selling baked goods to raise the funds needed to hold the event.
I was helping to chaperone a party of the GSA at the high school where my husband works. He is their faculty sponsor. The group meets weekly after school in his classroom. One of their goals has been to reach out to GSA groups in other high schools. Last year they held their first County-wide GSA event at UUCC in Owen Brown. It was a small, but good, start.
This year they decided to have it at the school. Howard County PFLAG helped spread the word. About forty students turned out from four or five different high schools plus the homeschooling community. They did what all teenagers do: chatted, played some ice-breaker games, played with bubbles, glow sticks, and helium balloons. Danced familiar line dances. Looked at their phones. Ate, drank, took pictures. Laughed, goofed around, acted silly.
It's hard for me to adequately describe how happy this all made me. On a Saturday night in February, a whole bunch of LGBTQ teens and their friends were able to get together and feel completely accepted for being who they are. There was no one to mock or judge or exclude them. They were great kids having fun and being themselves.
Yet the world is getting a little darker for them as each day of the new Presidential term goes by. Protections for trans students are disappearing. Anti-LGBTQ politicians are receiving appointment after appointment and their goals are clear: to roll back the rights so recently won. To censure and suppress. I looked at these beautiful young people and my heart ached a little. They don't deserve censure. They deserve what everyone deserves: love, and acceptance.
HoCo blogger HoCoHouseHon suggested to me this week, "I'm thinking instead of pink or red we should all wear rainbow colors for Valentine's Day."
I think she's right. What better day to reaffirm that Love is Love?