BY NATASHA BARSOTTI –
Maverick Couch tried last spring and now he's trying
again — to wear a T-shirt that reads "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe" in
recognition of the national Day of Silence on April 20, which throws a spotlight
on how queer students are bullied into keeping their heads down.
And again, Couch's Waynesville High School, in Ohio, was
having none of it — until the openly gay 17-year-old, through Lambda Legal,
filed a lawsuit plus a motion for a temporary restraining order.
His perseverance seems to have paid off, sort of.
Couch's school district has given him the all-clear — for just one day — to don the T-shirt his school principal, Randy Gebhardt,
reportedly deemed "indecent and sexual in nature."
He also threatened Couch — who decided he had a right to
wear the offending shirt — with suspension after Couch defied Gebhardt's
demand that he take it off.
"I've been bullied and called names. I wanted to
wear the T-shirt to encourage respect for all students, gay or straight,"
Couch said, according to Gay Star News. "I wish my school would help me create an accepting environment for LGBT kids, not single me out for punishment."
"We're glad that Maverick is able to wear his shirt
on April 20," Lambda Legal attorney Christopher Clark added.
"However, a student's First Amendment rights are not restricted to one day
of the year. We will continue to fight until Maverick is allowed to express who
he is on any day he chooses."
If Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps and his minions are allowed to wax obnoxious about their disdain for queers wherever and whenever they see fit, then courageous youth and their allies get equal time to say they beg to differ — on a T–shirt or otherwise, 24/7/365.