Local Group Seeks Acceptance, Inclusion For LGBT Teens At STM
A group of St. Thomas More alumni made up of LGBT members and allies have spoken out against the school's inclusion of what they feel is harmful anti-trans language in the student handbook.
The group, "We Demand More," started making headlines recently when they taped a letter to the front of the school.
Operating under the name “We Demand More,” group members said in an issued statement, taped to the door of the Lafayette school Friday, that they are “deeply concerned” about the policy, which they say will “cause irreversible harm” to students of the diocese’s schools.
Supporters of the demands suggested taping them to the school door evoked the image of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses, a protest of church practices, to church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.
The policy says the school will provide an environment “consistent with Roman Catholic teachings and principles.” Essentially, the policy prohibits behavior and expressions of a person’s sexual identity at school that are inconsistent with Catholic principles. Critics of the policy were especially alarmed that the school placed the new policy at the front of its handbook.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Lafayette explained in The Advocate's story (linked above) that the diocese's policy is not new. What is new, according to the group, is the school's focus on the policy, which includes putting it in the front of the student handbook.
One of the group's members, Thomas Luke, spoke to KPEL on Thursday's episode of the Joe Cunningham Show, explaining what the group is currently seeking.
Trans identity issues are nothing new to the education system, but this marks the first time locally that a group is challenging a religious institution's implementation of a policy in line with Catholic orthodoxy. The group feels that the policy is harmful to students who are LGBT and can feel alienated by their peers and teachers refusing to acknowledge their identity.
Catholic ideology is very clear on the issue of transgenderism, however, and the group knows it. According to Luke, they want to start with dialogue and work their way from there. To Luke, it's about competency. He feels that too many are ignorant of the social and mental health issues surrounding trans students.
Like most area schools, STM has started its 2022-2023 school year, and seemingly with the allegedly controversial policy in place.