LGBTQ Students Find Hope In New Affirming School: The Magic City Acceptance Academy

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08/31/2021

For back-to-school shopping, Elliot likes to hit up one of his favorite thrift stores with his mom. They often go thrifting together, and so far, the rising 11th grader has picked out three shirts, all in the same style: navy blue, short-sleeved button-ups. “I like to call them beach dad shirts,” Elliott said Elliot is transgender and WBHM is using only his first name and not naming his family because he is not completely out publicly. This year, Elliot smiles when he talks about going back to school. That is because he will be one of over 270 students starting at the Magic City Acceptance Academy, a new public charter school that has built affirmation for LGBTQ students into its very foundation. It is one of the first schools in the South to do so. Elliot’s mom could not be more thrilled. “The change between last year at this time and this year at this time is just a complete 180. He’s just a different child altogether,” Elliot’s mom said. “Every time I think about it, it makes me smile.” All public schools are supposed to provide a safe learning environment for children, but that doesn’t always happen for LGBTQ students. At his previous public school, Elliot started falling behind during virtual learning and didn’t get the academic help he needed. He was also outed to his school by someone close to him and didn’t feel safe.

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