New Public Charter School Specializes in LGBT Affirmation — in a Rose-Red State

(Lou Foglia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

America is transforming. And if you’re looking for an undeniable example, consider the creation of a specialized school.

As relayed by WBHM, an academy’s been created specifically for gay youth and their LGBTQ peers.

What’s perhaps most profound is the place of learning’s location: It’s nestled in the heart of Alabama.

The Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA) is a public charter school that — though open for any and all who wish to apply — “has built affirmation for LGBTQ students into its very foundation.” It opened last fall with over 270 students.

Some might assert that all schools are embedded with a rainbow embrace; a case can certainly be made:

Nebraska Eyes Teaching Kindergarteners Gender Identity While Eleven-Year-Olds Study Pansexuality and Demigenderism

Washington State Orders Teachers to Hide Kindergarteners’ Gender Transition From Their Parents

Oregon Elementary School Hosts ‘Queer and Sexuality Alliance’ Club for Nine-Year-Olds

Arizona Department of Education Invites 10-Year-Olds to Talk With Strangers Online About Their Sexual Identities

Report: Three Middle Schoolers Have Been Charged With Sexual Harassment for Not Using ‘They/Them’ Pronouns

High School Biology Class Tells Kids Biological Sex Is a Social Construct

But perhaps Alabama hasn’t quite caught up.

Judging from WBHM’s report, that’s the idea:

All public schools are supposed to provide a safe learning environment for children, but that doesn’t always happen for LGBTQ students. At his previous public school, (transgender student) Elliot started falling behind during virtual learning and didn’t get the academic help he needed. He was also outed to his school by someone close to him and didn’t feel safe.

“I got death threats, every name in the book,” Elliot said. “I got the whole gross, disgusting slurs. Just because I’m living my truth.”

His family said it was a “no-brainer” to transfer to the new charter school that actively supports students like Elliot.

“Being in a place where I don’t have to pretend is very, just calming,” Elliot said. “I feel safe, and I feel like I don’t have to hide anymore.”

Per the outlet, “Elliot’s mom could not be more thrilled.”

There’s been an about-face:

“The change between last year at this time and this year at this time is just a complete 180. He’s just a different child altogether,” Elliot’s mom said. “Every time I think about it, it makes me smile.”

The Academy’s founding principal is Michael Wilson, an LGBT member himself.

And at MCAA, his wings are widely spread:

“[I]’ve never been able to say that in my work environment and be who I truly am. I can actually be myself as a principal and not be judged for that.”

During his 28 years in Birmingham City Schools, Michael observed a need:

“Students were coming with such anxiety and angst and depression and some suicide ideation, and so it informed us that in their traditional learning spaces, they are not getting the support they need.”

The school’s About page makes clear its aim:

Mission — The Magic City Acceptance Academy facilitates a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.

Vision — [MCAA] will motivate and prepare students in grades six through twelve by providing an exceptional, innovative, and quality-driven education. MCAA’s purpose is to engage students who have dropped out, are not thriving in traditional schools, or are enrolled in home-school programs. Mentors and teachers will be incorporated throughout the diverse MCAA curriculum to empower students in directing their own education. MCAA will provide a brave learning environment and LGBTQ-affirming culture for all.

Speaking to WBHM, Beth Smith — mother of “two queer children” — marveled, “I can’t believe that in Alabama, this has been available to us.”

She’s surely far from alone in that disbelief.

Back to the school’s “vision,” it seems non-LGBT kids may be putting it to use.

The Daily Wire reports:

[MCAA] is attracting straight black kids whose families see it as a way for their kids to escape Birmingham’s beleaguered regular public schools, The Daily Wire has learned. …

[W]ith Alabama’s traditional public schools ranking among the worst in the country, straight students are flocking to the school in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood.

“Some kids are not gay but they go there to get out of the inner city schools,” a source inside the school who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Daily Wire.

That isn’t difficult to believe.

So gay students left a “straight school” for what they considered a superior culture, and straight students flocked to a gay school for more excellent academics.

It’s a strange time, for a strange world. As for colossal change, there’s no sign of stopping.

-ALEX

 

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