I just had delightful time (I’m starting to sound more and more like a British church lady) with Marigold and Geoffrey. She is a member of the Oxford Friends Meeting, a retired Spanish teacher and author. He is a retired Oxford professor (St. Anthony’s) and a Winston Churchill Scholar.
We had a long and rambling talk about politics in the US, Milton’s Samson Agonistes, Pinochet, and James Dodson’s Focus on the Family.
I was able to introduce them to the world of blogging and wikipedia. In their sitting room I picked up a wireless signal from one of their neighbors and showed them my blog including a comment by Rob who met Marigold this summer. (Rob she remembers you and sends greetings).
Earlier in the day over a lager I met with Matthew from Way Out. I asked him if the church in the UK does not constitute a large problem for LGBTQ youth, why do they have queer youth support programs like Way Out.
He explained that in the schools most queer youth are taunted, bullied and even attacked from both students and staff. Because of Section 28, a law passed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1988 that said that homosexuality could not be promoted in schools. As a result, for years school administrators did NOTHING to address queer issues. The law was only overturned in 2003.
He went on to state that many queer youth in the UK today still choose to be silent about their sexual orientation and live for years in isolation. Wtih the lonliness and the oppression they feel, a good number of these get out of school as soon as possible instead of pursuing higher education.
Stuck in entry level jobs and with stunted social development, they suffer to establish themselves in the world.
From what he tells me, the schools in the US provide safer spaces for youth with our growinng number of GSAs and some enlightened staff.
Fortunately in the UK organizations like Terence Higgins Trust provide opportunities for youth through weekly youth groups. Some teens, oppressed at school and not yet out at home, wait all week for that two hour meeting when they can be themselves.