Target: Christian Zsilavetz, Founder of Pride School Atlanta
Goal: Applaud decision to establish LGBT-friendly school.
For many LGBT educators, making the decision to come out is one that’s plagued with devastating consequences. However, math teacher Christian Zsilavetz believes that an educator’s status as transgender, a lesbian, a gay man or bisexual shouldn’t be a hurdle or cause tension in the classroom, but encourages the beginning of important discourse on inclusivity and acceptance.
Once a private school teacher, Zsilavetz asked his then-principal if he could come out as transgender to his students. Instead of encouraging him, she told him to start his own school, and the idea for Pride School Atlanta was born.
Zsilavetz hopes to open Pride School Atlanta by the summer of 2015 and, if successful, it will be the first school in the Southeast to cater to students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex. Also, it will be one of the first LGBT-affiliated schools in the nation to accept students as early as pre-kindergarten.
Zsilavetz envisions a school where LGBT students will feel safe and comfortable interacting with other LGBT peers, and not have to worry that they’ll face ridicule from others for coming from an alternative family. Teachers will also be able to disclose their LGBT status, without consequence.
In addition to this, Zsilavetz’s agenda includes allowing students to wear whatever clothing is in line with their gender expression and to grow their hair or cut it, hold hands in the hallway with their same-sex partners, and use whichever restroom they feel comfortable with without fear of harassment.
Despite Georgia’s constitutional amendment against gay marriage, many schools in Atlanta, in both suburbs and rural areas, have made significant strides on LGBT issues and social attitudes are beginning to make progressive shifts, with 58 percent of schools in the state in support of anti-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Sign the petition below to applaud educator Christian Zsilavetz for his valiant efforts in the fight for LGBT equality.
Dear Mr. Zsilavetz,
This letter is to applaud your efforts in the fight for LGBT equality with the creation of Pride School Atlanta. LGBT educators face unique challenges that have long been overlooked, such as job loss, ridicule and harassment. However, with the advent of Pride School Atlanta, those challenges are no longer a hurdle and LGBT educators can breathe a sigh of relief know that they are safe and will be accepted no matter their status.
Schools have become battlegrounds for LGBT identified students and LGBT educators. And, with the prominence of suicides by LGBT youth due to bullying on the rise, it’s refreshing to see activists like you taking a laudable stand to correct the injustice.
Thank you, wholeheartedly, for creating a school that will make LGBT students and LGBT educators finally feel safe, respected and empowered.
[Your Name Here]
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