by Geneva Gleason
The WHS Gay-Straight Alliance/ Rainbow Coalition is selling mini rainbow flags for $10 in the Main Office while supplies last in support of Triad House, an LGBT-friendly youth shelter in Ewing.
“We hope to raise awareness,” said GSA Adviser and Math Teacher Ms. Ellen Muir. “Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers are shunned by their peers and families, even today. We’d like to think that we live in a more progressive society than that.”
Added GSA member junior O.C. Szwarc: “We’d like as many teachers as possible to buy the flags and put them in their classrooms. Our hope is that maybe a questioning or closeted teen will see the flags in some of their teachers’ classes and feel safer.”
According to Triad House Program Director Ms. Tamra Hooks, the goal of Triad House is to make sure the young people who live there are comfortable and safe while they resolve whatever issues rendered them homeless, with the help of the network of professionals provided by Life Ties, the shelter’s agency.
Life Ties also runs three other specialized houses for young people around New Jersey, including houses dedicated to teen independent living training, teens with HIV/AIDS and teen mothers, according to lifeties.org. Some of the services Triad House provides to its residents are individual and group counseling, educational planning, independent living skills training and job readiness training, according to lifeties.org.
At WHS, the GSA meets once a month to discuss current events and programs relevant to the LGBT community; these meetings are open to all WHS students, according to Muir.