Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students often report facing hostile school environments. As a result, many say they leave or get pushed out.
The Posh Academy in New Orleans is giving young people such as Lhundyn Fernandez and Keira Dixon an option for earning a GED and moving on to higher education or better employment. The academy was launched by BreakOUT!, a nonprofit addressing issues facing LBGT youth.
For Fernandez, 23, Posh is place of acceptance.
“No matter who you are, you will be accepted. You always worry about being accepted. Once that worry goes away, you are free to learn,” Fernandez says.
Dixon, 25, says Posh works because she’s around people with whom she can identify.
“It’s a family oriented kind of thing, so it’s not like anyone feels out of place,” Dixon says. “You know you’re not going to be outcasted or ridiculed for what you don’t know or how you look.”
“I don’t think anyone is going to have a problem with being teased at Posh Academy. You just won’t.”
Dixon says she plans to study nursing after completing Posh Academy.
Fernandez says college is on the horizon, but there are more immediate plans.
“Once I graduate, there’s going to be some job applications filled out. I see a better future for myself,” Fernandez says.
This series is supported by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It’s presented for American Graduate Day, an event on airways around the country October 3, to raise awareness of the importance of high school graduation.