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Inside Out

The same ... but different

Jeanne Sager
Posted 6/29/21

When you’ve covered graduations for the Democrat for two decades, the small things start to stick out – incremental changes in a sea of same.

Because of course some things remain …

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Inside Out

The same ... but different

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When you’ve covered graduations for the Democrat for two decades, the small things start to stick out – incremental changes in a sea of same.

Because of course some things remain constant. Pomp and Circumstance. Excited chatter among the graduates and proud parents.

It was at Sullivan West this year that a bit of sameness stuck out for what makes it different.

The small school in the corner of the county sends its seniors out two by two just as others do, but when they join the procession, they’re wearing gowns that look alike.

There’s no splitting by gender as most schools in Sullivan County, as many around the country do and have done for decades.

Whether intentional or not, this small step away from forcing kids to choose publicly “boy” or “girl” can have immense power for good.

As we close out Pride month and celebrate our kids both, it’s worth noting a few things about gender — specifically what it is that happens when we recognize kids’ gender identity.

In the largest ever survey of LGBTQ youth conducted by the Trevor Project just before the pandemic began, 48 percent — nearly half — had committed some act of self-harm in the prior 12 months. Almost that many — 40 percent — had seriously considered suicide.

But there’s light to be found in the midst of the darkness.

In that same survey, the suicide risk for youth whose pronouns were respected, youth who found support for their gender identity was cut in HALF.

Small changes matter.

Small changes save lives.

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