Youth commission recognized for LGBT awareness


San Francisco Supervisor David Campos commended the youth commission for raising awareness about lesbian, gay, bi and transgender students.

"I also speak as an openly gay man who recognizes from my own experience the challenges that come with being gay," says Campos.

The San Francisco Youth Commission heard the presentation of the "2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey" conducted by the school district.

For the first time, the study questioned students on their sexual orientation, the treatment they have received from others, and the effects it has had on their lives.

It found that 85 percent of LGBT students experienced harassment in school. About 46 percent of LGBT high school students have been in a fight, compared to 20 percent of heterosexual students. And 82 percent say other students use derogatory remarks based on sexual orientation, but only 54 percent say teachers intervene.

"Some of the slurs kids use in school such as 'that's so gay' and things such as that, and how we really want that to stop," says Jesrel Anderson from Balboa High School.

Another finding is that LGBT students are four times more likely to abuse drugs or attempt suicide.

"I've been out of school for a year and a half now, been homeless off and on and jobless," says San Francisco resident Mio Tu Mutch.

Now other districts, like Berkeley Unified are asking LGBT organizations to help prevent bullying by talking at assemblies.

"Very young, very courageous members of our organization talk about their lives and what it's like to grow up being gay," says Leslie Ewing, executive director of The Pacific Center.

These discussions are raising more awareness, but they are expected to raise more controversy as the talk spreads to schools outside of the Bay Area.

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