L.A. Schools Add Queer Cinema to Curricula

Article excerpt

The administrators of E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., have taken a lot of flak lately. Their school was where 15-year-old Lawrence King was shot to death in February by his classmate Brandon McInerney, allegedly because King was gay. Sixty miles to the south, the facilitators of the second-largest school district in the nation--the 694,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District--are taking steps to avoid a similar catastrophe.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

On April 25, the Day of Silence, LAUSD screened Tru Loved, a film about LGBT acceptance, to 900 students. The movie, with a supporting cast that includes Bruce Vilanch and Alec Mapa, is now available as an educational tool at district high schools. "Lawrence's death raised the level of awareness in schools of the need for more advocates," says Judy Chiasson, a coordinator in LAUSD's office of human relations, diversity, and equity. Tru Loved revolves around Tru, a straight teen (Najarra Townsend) with two sets of gay parents. h move to a conservative suburb finds her befriending two male students, one of them a closeted quarterback. After witnessing straight peers spewing venom toward gay people, Tru forms a gay-straight alliance. …