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Dear John: An Open Letter on FCHS GSA

We all know the story of Adam and Eve. A man made by God, and Eve, crafted of his rib, inhabit the vegetative Garden of Eden, having all they could ever need or want. The woman, Eve, takes a fruit from  forbidden Tree of Knowledge, driven by a speaking serpent, the original sin. Again, there is little need to tell this tale, as I’m sure you’re familiar with it.

I include this not as a rebuttal to the common “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” argument (as you may be expecting), but as to draw a parallel to this age. Persuaded by evil, Eve took from the tree, harming the entirety of humanity. Today, I speak not of humanity as a whole, but as our LGBT youth. You, my friends, are Eve. Meaning well, Eve took from the tree as the devil whispered in her ear that it was okay. Sometimes a lack of consciousness and pressure from the outside can make us fallible humans make unwise decisions. Had Eve known this was the devil’s work, perhaps she would’ve chose differently. The media, religious organizations, and some politicians (as well as certain court clerks) are pushing anti-gay sentiment into our lives. Today, you have as much as you need (the right to marry, lack of fear of discrimination or disownment, etc.) as Adam and Eve had in the Garden. The moral of this story is that it is important to stay conscious of our decisions and to reflect on the consequences. So, why do many continue to push against LGBT youth, particularly here in Franklin County?

There is an event page found on Facebook, titled, “Franklin County School Board Meeting,” and the material on the page is downright hazardous to LGBT youth. I only hope that they do not stumble upon it as I have, simply for their safety. Created by a Franklin County man by the name of John, the page opposes the new GSA formed in Winchester, TN. As a gay teen and a member of GLSEN and Cookeville’s GSA, I know how much a GSA can do for students. I read a post on your event page that said if young people are contemplating suicide they need more help than a silly club. I will tell you how this club saved my life, when no one else could. Going through depression is a very difficult thing and is extremely common for many LGBT youth. I experienced it myself, and I felt alone in the world and hated by family as well as friends. This club provided a place where I was free from harassment, and I found that there are people like me who supported me. I didn't need professional help, I needed someone who would understand. Do you understand that your event is harboring grown adults that are posting comments shaming students for wanting to harm themselves? I understand that you have children and you have the right to raise them as you want to, but can you justify being the cause of a child's death to protect your own children's "innocence?" If you truly care, please, please stop this harmful rhetoric immediately. I am not asking you stop opposing the life and liberty of people who are gay or trans or bisexual, though I would be overjoyed if this message does reach you that deeply. I am simply asking you to avoid damaging and discriminatory rhetoric against LGBT youth and to defend them from this harmful language. You may save a life.

The federal government protects the right of the students to host a GSA as long as the school allows other non-curricular clubs. If there’s a chess club, the school must allow a GSA, this is the law and there is no challenging it on a local level. That means there can be (and likely are) Christian clubs at these schools. Just as they do not force others to attend, the GSA will not recruit your children or force any ideology upon them. Your children will not be harmed, but spreading hate can harm the teens of Winchester, Tennessee. Thus, this movement serves no purpose, except to voice anti-LGBT ideology in Franklin County and further demean otherwise phenomenal and courageous young people. I wrote John, asking him to take this page down, but I still, two weeks later, have yet to see a response. I am asking you to oppose the opposition of  a GSA in your county in an effort to protect your children and many others who could benefit from this club. You may save a life.


Someone who cares for the safety of your community.


zach brown 

Zach Brown is a senior at Cookeville High School in Putnam County, Tennessee.