From the Principal’s Office: School Official’s Tales of Coming Out With West Valley Youth

By Avi Vieira

This week one n ten West Valley had guest speaker Rochelle Elliott, a principal from a valley middle school share her experiences of not only growing up and coming out to friends and family, but in coming out to the students and staff at her school; the support and backlash that came with it, and the opportunity it provided in becoming a role model to and support for LGBT youth in her school.

Rochelle shared deeply personal stories of growing up in the valley in a family and community that did not look favorably on homosexuals, her early relationships with boys and girls, coming out to herself and participating in the LGBT community, and later as she became a school administrator with each step reflecting a more positive message of hope, respect, support, and community to the youth.

Our youth have grown up in a culture where openly LGBT individuals are to an extent seen in their lives. Actors, singers, designers; and more recently military personnel, activists, lawyers, police officers, and counselors. While the list continues to grow, LGBT educators have always been a quiet, often politicized population of our community that youth have not been exposed to, and are not often aware of, and therefore don’t see faculty or administrators as general support, let alone LGBT advisors. Tonight’s group allowed that exposure to that role, and not only help to make the youth become more aware of LGBT educators, but perhaps even inspire them to become educators themselves.