In April, a group of students at McGuffey High School in Claysville, Washington County, Pennsylvania organized an "Anti-Gay Day" in response to the National Day of Silence. LGBTQA students in McGuffey's GSA had organized a local Day of Silence as part of their ongoing work to build safer schools. In photos that went viral, some participating youth wore flannel shirts to promote "Anti-Gay Day" which was a source of some eye rolling and dismay among flannel wearing lesbians (and others.)
As a counter-response, community leaders opted to organize a show of support for LGBTQA youth, using the hashtag #TakeTheHighRoad which is a play on McGuffey's mascot (a Highlander) and the need to stay focused on what was best for the youth themselves. Flannel shirts were encouraged, but optional.
The youth in Pittsburgh-based queer performing arts group Dreams of Hope took our #TakeTheHighRoad message of support to McGuffey High LGBTQA students a few steps further -- producing this lovely video with their own unique messages.
Kudos to Dreams of Hope for reminding us that flannel is not the enemy and the value of supporting other students.
What can I add to their message? You might still want to post your own photo and make a modest donation to the crowdfund. All funds will be used by the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance (a 501c3) for student programming, including taking the youth to the upcoming queer prom as well as their after school activities. This GSA is a community group that has been on the ground working with McGuffey School District for months. They will be there when the dust settles and the public eye turns elsewhere.
For more information, please visit the Stop The Hate at McGuffey Facebook page.