Sarah Kiperman, assistant professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education, quoted in Downtown Magazine, “LGBTQ+ community rights may now be threatened”

Downtown Magazine (Birmingham/Bloomfield), 10/25
LGBTQ+ community rights may now be threatened
By Lisa Brody

In 2022, for most members for the LGBTQ+ community, they would likely tell you there is currently nothing cheerful or carefree about the term “gay,” nor about the assaults, both literally and critically, on those in their community. From increased attacks and killings of transgender women to “Don’t Say Gay” laws being introduced and signed into law, those questioning and identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community are finding their place in society less sure and secure. And the most vulnerable, adolescents and those who teach them, are discovering that schools are not the safe haven they envisioned them to be, precipitating a greater mental health crisis. A school which has a gay/straight alliance must permit it to meet, if members want it, regardless of what parents or administrators desire, said Sarah Kiperman, assistant professor of education at Wayne State University, who noted there is a law that says schools cannot deny school groups forming or meeting. She said it falls under the Equal Access Act, which prohibits discrimination against students who want to form and participate in extracurricular groups. “Schools’ best approach is to talk to the students about how they best feel safe and comfortable,” Kiperman said. “Knowing that students are protected by rights – what does that mean? And to them?...” Kiperman said. “…Support from others acts as a buffer, as a shield against adversity. But, without this shield, we expose our youth to the full brunt of the disaffirmed, practices, and discrimination which, for LGBT youth, it’s not not being part of the community that causes them challenges. It’s the stressors from discrimination that cause mental health challenges. We’re just creating greater divisions and greater stressors…”

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