Does the South Need an LGBT School?
One Atlanta educator is trying to start a school for LGBT students, teachers, and families.
When transgender school teacher Christian Zsilavetz moved to Atlanta a few years ago, he was nervous about his career prospects despite the city’s reputation as an LGBT oasis in the South.
“It was really daunting moving to Georgia as a trans guy,” Zsilavetz tells me. “I can’t afford to be dropped into some random school, not having any idea what’s going to happen if I’m outed or choose to be out.”
Before coming to Atlanta—and before his transition—Zsilavetz worked as a middle and high school teacher in Seattle. In 2006, he temporarily quit teaching and transitioned to male in the more clandestine occupation of limousine driver. Two years later, after testosterone had done its work, he returned to the classroom and largely left his past out of his profession.
But now, Zsilavetz is spearheading an effort to create Pride School Atlanta (PSA), the first school in the area for LGBT and allied students, teachers, and families. Zsilavetz hopes to launch the small nonprofit school in August with full-time tuition set at around $12,000, with lower price points available for part-time homeschoolers. The mission statement promises “a safe and fun learning environment, free of homophobia and transphobia—a place that honors [students’] identities so they can be themselves.”
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