WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Becoming Visible Scott from Millis. "I was thrown to the ground and kicked in the ribs. The same day I was thrown into the street and almost run over by a car." Every teenager interviewed for this story reported being bullied in some capacity. "It really hurts when I hear that kids might be feeling isolated or not accepted," says Dr. Andrew Keough, principal at Wellesley High School. "I want every kid to feel as if he or she fits. It's a constant vigilance. We work really hard to be an inclusive school." Both Wellesley and Weston High Schools have an active Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA). The mere fact of these clubs gives both a voice and a haven to students who might need space and support. "It is important we have a club and that we have adults kids can reach out to," says Anthony Parker, principal at Weston High School. "It is where people can come and feel safe and talk about issues that are unique to them." Both Wellesley and Weston High Schools have openly gay and/or lesbian teachers who can be a resource for questioning students. "All students know they have gay teachers," says Jack Lewis. "It's not just the gay stu- dents who know. That's helpful to know that they are living their lives, they are hired, which was not the reality in many places awhile ago. " Though the necessity for a safe haven may seem obvious for teens, the need can be as profound for adults who live in our communities. Mary Shaw of Weston is the co-founder of the Weston Gay/Straight Alliance, which was established in 2001. "I would say at our peak that we had 60 to 70 people showing up at our events. This would include straight 'allies' as well as people from other nearby communities," she says. The Weston GSA had three separate goals at its outset: to be a social outlet, to be a political lobbying organization, and to educate the My sexuality is only one facet of who I am." community. The existence of the Weston GSA felt like "a breath of fresh air," to Allan Singer. "It serves a purpose to have LGBT organiza- tion just so there can be a visible reference to the surrounding com- munity, or if there is a same gender couple or someone is experiencing same sex attraction, the isolation can be dissipated by knowing there is a LGBT organization," he says. The Weston GSA has lost a bit of its vigor over the past few years, The entertainer Jujubee with a fan seemingly due to the increased acceptance of LGBT citizens and the "ho hum" reaction to the appearance of same sex families and individuals in town. "We've become the norm," say Julie Palen. "Nobody cares. I have never had a single issue being a single, lesbian parent." Attracted to Weston because of its excellent school system and rural ambience, she says she affiliates with other moms, not necessarily other same sex indi- viduals. "My sexuality is only one facet of who I am," she says. Indeed, those interviewed for this article can find the overarching perception 90 WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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