SAN ANTONIO – Michael Alvarez was disappointed when he learned San Antonio ISD recommended its principals not promote National Coming Out Day.
“It’s just harmful because these students that are going to these schools are not gonna be able to feel like they are safe," he said.
The email guidance was sent October 1, but the district tells KSAT:
“San Antonio ISD’s Board and District are in full support of the LGBTQIA community. This was a process issue. We are working to be as inclusive as possible while recognizing all of our SAISD family."
According to the district’s non-discrimination statement, it is against SAISD’s policy to discriminate on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
Alvarez graduated from Burbank High School in 2019 and is now a sophomore at UT Austin. He is also openly gay and believes the district has a responsibility to its students.
“It’s not enough to say your school is non-discriminatory. You have to also act on that," he said.
National Coming Out Day is observed on October 11 each year to commemorate the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
However, the day also recognizes coming to terms with one’s sexuality or own identity and sharing that.
“It is such a monumental turn in so many LGBTQ, queer peoples’ lives," he said.
Alvarez struggled throughout high school but eventually found the courage to come out to his family when he went to college.
He described high school as a pivotal time, especially for LGBTQ students, and he hopes the district will recognize that.
“To acknowledge that struggle is acknowledging our students and giving them a safe place to express themselves.”
He wants others to know they are not alone in their struggle.
“It may not feel like it right now, but you are supported and that you have a real family that is looking out for you," said Alvarez.
SAISD plans to share an update during Monday night’s board meeting. The update will include an annual calendar of days to acknowledge and celebrate.