January 04, 2015

GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week is well underway in thousands of schools all across the country. The nationally recognized event is aimed at addressing name-calling and bullying in schools.

The week-long event was first organized by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing with more than 50 participating organizations supporting the week-long event including the National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

DID YOU KNOW? This is the ninth annual No Name-Calling Week. The event was first organized in 2004.

There's been a lot of buzz around this year's event. Media have reported about No Name-Calling Week taking place in communities like Phoenix, Fort Scott and Asheville. Massachusetts went a step further with Governor Deval Patrick designating January 25 as "No Name-Calling Day"  in the Bay State.

Even Boy Scouts America endorsed No Name-Calling Week.

FUN FACT: Schools participating in No Name-Calling Week can download a variety of lesson plans, activities and other suggested resources. There have been more than 27,000 downloads of our materials in the past 30 days alone.

GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week was inspired by "The Misfits," a young adult novel written by James Howe. The story follows four students who have each experienced name-calling and decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a "No Name Day" at school. Ever since, James Howe has continued to support the annual week-long event organized at all grade levels.

Thanks to our friends at Simon & Schuster, James Howe made a video to share with No Name-Calling Week participants and supporters. You can watch his message below.

ARE YOU PARTICIPATING? Let us know if No Name-Calling Week is taking place in your school by sending us a tweet or letting us know on Facebook.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"46","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","height":"315","width":"560","style":""}}]]

January 04, 2015

We made it! No Name-Calling Week is now in full swing! Are you looking for a lesson plan?

Check out Let's Get Real, a short film produced by GLSEN's long-time organizational partner, GroundSpark. Let’s Get Real doesn’t sugarcoat the truth or feature adults lecturing kids about what to do when kids pick on them. Instead, it examines a variety of issues that lead to taunting and bullying, including racial differences, perceived sexual orientation, learning disabilities, religious differences, sexual harassment and others. The film not only gives a voice to targeted kids, but also to kids who do the bullying to find out why they lash out at their peers and how it makes them feel. The most heartening part of Let’s Get Real includes stories of youth who have mustered the courage to stand up for themselves or a classmate.

At GLSEN, we recommend this excellent short film to use with your students in grades 5 – 9. Let's Get Real is widely hailed as one of the best tools for opening up meaningful, life-changing dialogue in schools today.

As a special offer for No Name Calling Week, GroundSpark is providing free streaming of Let's Get Real the entire week. To obtain your free digital stream, just send an email to streamfree@groundspark.org saying "Let's Get Real" NNCW 2012 in the subject line.

January 04, 2015

GLSEN is excited to announce our second daylong pre-conference institute on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Creating Change: How you can make schools safer for all! We’re also co-presenters for the first ever Creating Change Lobby Day also on Thursday.

Friday through Sunday GLSEN staff and volunteers will be leading a number of workshops – on our research, our best practices for youth/adult work, safe schools policy work, and the Day of Silence. You can also find GLSEN staff and volunteers at our table in the exhibition hall. If you’re going to be at the conference, please stop by our presentations to learn more about the work you can do or come by our display to say hi. We’d love to see you!

If you haven’t registered yet – sign up now at www.creatingchange.org.

Schools Focus: How you can make schools safer for all!
Thursday, January 26

Are you a youth or adult interested in making a difference in the schools in your community? Come to this day-long institute to learn about the current state of LGBT issues in schools across the country and what you can do to make a difference. Whether you interact daily with a school community or are an interested bystander who wants to get involved, we’ll share tools for you to advocate for and implement effective evidence-based interventions at the state and local level both personally and by providing information and resources to others. Appropriate for any who are interested in safer schools – whether you’ve been doing the work already for years or are just preparing to dive in. (If you’re more experienced, please be prepared to share some of your best practices in discussion sessions.) Organized and presented by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

The Task Force Lobby Day
Thursday, January 26

The Task Force Lobby Day will be an incredible way to participate in the political process and to make our voices heard by congressional members. This will give grassroots and community activists a stimulating opportunity to help create change at the federal level.

We will explain why workplace fairness, safe schools and anti-violence services are tremendous concerns for LGBT people. The “How to Effectively Lobby Your Member of Congress” portion of the day will include message training on the legislation and role-play visits to give participants a chance to practice messages. Thousands of everyday people will share their stories to persuade their Members of Congress to support and co-sponsor inclusive-and-focused LGBT legislation. We encourage individuals of all experience levels to sign up for Lobby Day. First-time citizen lobbyists are welcome and encouraged! We will board buses from Baltimore and have lunch on the road to Washington, DC.

Federal Efforts to Achieve Safer Schools
Saturday, January 28 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm

This workshop will examine current federal efforts around safe schools legislation, specifically related to anti-bullying and anti-harassment legislation. The importance of such legislation will be discussed, as well as current status, likely legislative vehicles, and the role participants can play in advocating for legislation to create safe schools.

2-4-6-8 Get Ready to Evaluate!: Practical Program Evaluation for the LGBT Activist
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm

This workshop will introduce common evaluation concepts, provide strategies to help you assess your work, and explore how sharing your evaluation findings can help further the LGBTQ movement. Participants will gain practice using evaluation tools and explore cost-effective, feasible ways to evaluate your activities.

Day of Silence Session
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Calling all K-12 student organizers and adult allies! Come learn about and prepare for the National Day of Silence, the largest annual LGBT-student action in the country, designed to bring attention to and action against anti-LGBT bias, bullying and harassment in K-12 schools! Participants will leave the workshop with a thorough understanding of the action and how to successfully implement it in their school and/or community.

January 04, 2015

My name is Carly, I'm a student ambassador for GLSEN, and an 8th grader in Arizona.

Since my mom is an ally, I've been an ally for basically as long as I can remember. In fact, I don't think I could imagine that not being a part of my life. And for as long as I've been an ally, the question I've been asked the most has always been “Why?” “Why do you care so much about gay people if you're straight yourself?”

Well, there are several answers to that question. First of all, I believe a lack of acceptance and an attitude of intolerance is one of the biggest issues our society faces, and one that has been the root cause of some of the most tragic events in history. In this case, anti-LGBT bullying, homophobia, and heterosexism in schools have caused tragedies. It has caused the tragedy of talented, bright kids not achieving the success they could be in school or even dropping out because they are too afraid of being harassed to focus on academic success. It has caused hundreds of teens to suffer from anxiety or depression every year. In short, anti-LGBT bullying is a common and extremely serious problem. And I don't want to just sit by and watch it wreck a ton of amazing young people's lives. That's probably the biggest part of why I'm an ally—I think it's just the right thing to do.

Besides that, I strongly believe that anti-LGBT bullying does not only negatively impact the LGBT community, but also an environment in which no once can feel comfortable being who they are and expressing themselves, for fear of being judged, labeled, bullied, or harassed. These kind of hostile surroundings, where everyone is more worried about not becoming a victim then they are about doing well in school or life, is not conducive to a healthy learning environment or a healthy person. As an ally, it is my hope that one day, everyone will be able to go to school and just be themselves and focus on being the best they can be. I want to wake up in a world where people are free from gender stereotypes that stifle their ability to lead the life they want to.

Ultimately, I believe the quote that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is true, and I don't want to take the side of bullying. Allies are in a position to “be the change,” as GLSEN says. They have the opportunity to break down the walls between LGBT students and their straight peers that often lead to a feeling of isolation for the LGBT students. To be a voice for people who are in the closet and can't speak up for themselves, be a supporter for people who are coming out or need somebody to talk to, and fight along side all the wonderful LGBT youth who have worked to achieve safer and more inclusive schools.

Being an ally is something I would encourage everyone to do, because although you may face some challenges, I have had so many great experiences and met so many amazing people because of being an ally. And at the end of the day, I feel really proud to be a part of a movement that involves people of all different sexual orientations and gender identities, joined together for a great cause.

January 04, 2015

Today we were excited to learn that Changing the Game: GLSEN Sports Project Director Pat Griffin and NCLR's Sport Project Director Helen Carroll were named the 2011 Persons of the Year by Outsports' readers.

Readers of the the popular LGBT sports publication cast a whopping 53% of their votes to both long-time activists. Other finalists included High School LGBT sports bloggers and 'It Gets Better' teams tying at 11%. Rick Welts (a GLSEN 2011 Respect Awards honoree) and the Golden State Warriors earned 10% of the vote followed by  Sean Avery at 9% and Anton Hysen at 7%.

Shortly after the news, GLSEN contacted Pat to congratulate her on the honor. She shared:

I am so honored to receive this recognition and happy that it brings attention to the GLSEN Sports Project. Making sports safe and respectful for LGBT participants has been my professional passion for several years and being recognized for this work feels really great. I am especially happy to share the honor with my friend and colleague, Helen Carroll.

"No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one." - Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler

In 2011, Pat joined GLSEN to launch Changing the Game, an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. Helen serves as an advisory member of the GLSEN project. She is Professor Emeritus in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the former Director of It Takes A Team! Educational Campaign for LGBT Issues in Sport, an initiative of the Women's Sports Foundation. She is also an accomplished author and speaker on LGBT issues in athletics.

Both Pat and Helen have extensively worked together. The duo was responsible for the groundbreaking NCAA policy focused on the inclusion of transgender-student athletes.

Helen currently heads NCLR's Sports Project working closely with major national sports organizations including the San Francisco 49ers, the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Some of her past accomplishments include serving as a national championship basketball coach for the University of North Carolina-Asheville and had been a NCAA Athletic Director for 12 years.

GLSEN reached out to Helen for her reaction to the news. This is what Helen had to say about being named "Person of the Year" alongside her colleague Pat:

It is an honor to be recognized by Outsports and their readers, especially considering the group of strong and courageous nominees. Teaming up with Pat Griffin and establishing a strong collaboration between the  NCLR Sports Project and GLSEN’s Changing the Game, I feel, has been instrumental in the work we have accomplished. We will continue to strive to make the sports world an accepting and inclusive place for all LGBT people.

Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler had this to say about today's announcement:

 No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one. We at Outsports consider them the two most under-appreciated and under-recognized people in the movement. Their work has touched people of every race, gender and age, regardless of sexual orientation. In 2011 they yet again demonstrated their deep commitment to equality and their willingness to do the tough work without the headlines. They are also incredibly nice, warm, giving women. If the rest of us did just a fraction of the good work these two women have done for decades, we wouldn't be fighting these fights anymore.

GLSEN is proud of the lasting contributions both women have made in the world of sports on behalf of all LGBT athletes. Their lasting contributions over the past 30+ years continue to be felt by many. GLSEN is fortunate to work alongside both women through Changing the Game in making sure that future generations of LGBT athletes are treated with dignity and respect in schools across the country.

Interested in teaming up with Pat and Helen at Changing the Game?

Get your school's sports teams involved with our Team Respect Challenge! Visit our website to download the pledge and learn how your school's team can gain a winning edge.

 

January 04, 2015

Today Barnes & Noble announced its returning partnership with GLSEN in support of No Name-Calling Week.The retailer announced its second-year partnership with their release posted below. Barnes & Noble also joins Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Cisco, McDonald's, Allstate Foundation and Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation as institutional partners for the annual event.

Barnes & Noble Announces January is “No Name-Calling Month”

 Barnes & Noble Partners  with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for the Second Year to Raise Awareness on Bullying

New York, New York – January 4, 2011 –Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced plans to once again recognize January as “No Name-Calling Month” in its stores and online at Barnes & Noble.com.  Now in its second year, the month-long campaign is aimed at bringing attention to the national problem of name-calling and bullying of all kinds.  Barnes & Noble stores across the country will bring awareness to “No Name-Calling Month” by placing “No Name-Calling” signage in various locations, and hosting a national Storytime event and other activities. Barnes & Noble.com will feature exclusive video content from bestselling children’s, young adult and adult authors discussing their thoughts and experiences on bullying.  Barnes & Noble has partnered with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), creators of No Name-Calling Week in schools, in this effort to stop bullying.

“Barnes & Noble is pleased to be partnering with Simon & Schuster and GLSEN in this important effort to bring awareness to the seriousness of name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyberbullying,” said Mary Amicucci, vice president of Children’s Books for Barnes & Noble.

“Barnes & Noble is pleased to be partnering with Simon & Schuster and GLSEN in this important effort to bring awareness to the seriousness of name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyberbullying,” said Mary Amicucci, vice president of Children’s Books for Barnes & Noble. “Barnes & Noble has always provided parents, teachers and children with books, magazines and other materials, as well as in-store activities, that engage people in on-going dialogues and inspire ways to communicate with one another.  This campaign is just one more way we can help.”

“GLSEN is honored that Barnes & Noble is a returning partner for No Name-Calling Week,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “Barnes & Noble has been a tremendous supporter for this annual event that aims to address name-calling and bullying in our schools. We are thankful for their commitment to share the message of respect for difference to students, parents and educators across the country.”

“We are extremely proud to have co-founded No Name-Calling Week with GLSEN eight years ago and we are delighted that Barnes & Noble has joined us once again to help spread the ever important message of acceptance and respect to thousands of students, parents, and educators across the country,” said Michelle Fadlalla, Director of Marketing, Education & Library for Simon & Schuster.

First launched in March 2004, No Name-Calling Week was developed in a partnership between GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. The campaign was inspired by the young adult novel, The Misfits by James Howe, which tells the story of four best friends who, tired of the constant teasing in their middle school, decide to run for student government on a No Name-Calling platform.

During No Name-Calling Month, stores will host Barnes & Noble Educator Appreciation Week from January 14 through January 22. Stores will have No Name-Calling materials available for teachers and educators including book recommendations, tip sheets for organizing No Name-Calling events, lesson plans for elementary and middle school students, bracelets, classroom posters and buttons for educators to use in their classrooms.

Barnes & Noble.com will feature:

  • A No Name-Calling page (www.bn.com/noname).
  • B&N Kids Expert Circle articles with tips and advice on how to deal with bullying (www.bn.com/expertcircle).
  • E-mails regarding No Name-Calling events and special savings offers.
  • Exclusive video content from bestselling children’s, teen and adult authors including Hilary Duff, Richard Paul Evans, Lisa McMann, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Sarah Pekkanen.  The authors will discuss their thoughts on and experiences with bullying.

As part of this campaign, GLSEN will also produce a National No Name-Calling Creative Expression Exhibit, in which students can submit any type of artistic expression that relates to their experiences with or ideas of bullying.  Over the years, thousands of students nationwide have submitted a variety of poems, stories, essays, drawings, collages, sculptures and songs.  More information about past submissions, as well as about the No Name-Calling Week campaign can be found at www.nonamecallingweek.org and in Barnes & Noble stores.

Simon & Schuster has created a No-Name Calling page (http://pages.simonandschuster.com/nonamecalling/) for parents, teachers, and librarians featuring recommended books, discussion guides, anti-bullying videos from bestselling authors, and a chat board.

 

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 703 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 637 college bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States.  Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through BN.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web's largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than two million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™ (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™ eReading product offering, customers can buy and read digital books and content on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK devices, partner company products, and the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.  Follow Barnes & Noble on Twitter (www.bn.com/twitter), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barnesandnoble) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/bnstudio).

About Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, one of the leading children’s book publishers in the world, is comprised of the following imprints: Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Libros para niños, Little Simon®, Little Simon Inspirations™, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, and Simon Spotlight®. While maintaining an extensive award-winning backlist, the division continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy™, Henry & Mudge®, The Hardy Boys®, Nancy Drew®, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts®,Nickelodeon’s® Dora the Explorer®, Blue’s Clues® and SpongeBob SquarePants®, and Mirage studios’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™. For more information about Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, visit our website at KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com

Simon & Schuster, a part of  CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at SimonandSchuster.com

About GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

###

January 04, 2015

In the beginning of December, the US Department of Education (ED) released a report detailing their analysis ofstate and local anti-bullying laws. GLSEN applauds ED for taking this much needed step to support state and local anti-bullying lawsand policies. Building upon the critical elements the Department has identifiedas necessary to create comprehensive anti-bullying laws and policies, thereport has identified best practices in state laws, state model policies, anddistrict policies. We hope that states and districts will examine their ownanti-bullying laws and policies in light of this report and consider updatingtheir laws to create safer schools for all students. 

We areespecially encouraged that the report details the need for enumeration inanti-bullying laws and policies. Enumerated laws and policies provide specificprotection based on characteristics that are frequently the target of bullyingand harassment, such as race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and genderidentity and expression. 

Research has continually demonstrated that enumeration is an essential element of laws needed to provide effective protection to vulnerable students, such as LGBT students. 

The report assesses that whileabout a third of state anti-bullying laws contain enumeration language, morethan 2/3 of state model policies are enumerated. This reflects the factthat state education associations recognize the need to enumerate anti-bullyingpolicies to provide protection for all students. 


The report also looks at other important components ofanti-bullying laws such as prohibition of bullying through electronic means otherwise known as cyberbullying. While 
36 states prohibit cyberbullying, 13 states specifically allow districts to prohibit off campus cyberbullyingactivity. 


Cyberbulling is a developing area of the law, and there are a lot ofquestions about how much authority and responsibility schools should have topunish this sort of behavior.


While thevast majority of states already have anti-bullying laws, the report shows that 3 states prohibit bullying without providing a suitable definition of theterm, and 10 states prohibit bullying but do not require any specificcomponents for district policies. 


Moreover, the majority of state laws do notprovide specific protection to vulnerable students, such as LGBT students. Thispatchwork of inconsistent protections for students demonstrates the need for afederal anti-bullying measure. GLSEN supports the Safe Schools Improvement Act(H.R. 1648/S. 506), a federal anti-bullying bill which would provide a clear,enumerated definition of bullying and require all districts to take steps toaddress these issues.


Do you know who the National Safe Schools Partnership is? See who else supports the Safe Schools Improvement Act. 


We areencouraged by the strong stance ED has taken onbullying, from issuing guidance to making clear that districts that ignorebullying and harassment may incur liability under federal civil rights laws.Similarly, we believe this report will serve as a useful tool to advocates,educators, lawmakers, and school districts as they develop safe schools lawsand policies that will protect all of our nation’s youth.

January 04, 2015

>Like every other workplace, the GLSEN staff came together to celebrate the upcoming winter holidays. Our Public Policy staff in Washington, DC joined us for the day-long holiday party. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how we bring in the holiday season.


This year's holiday party gave staff the chance to exercise a different kind of skill set than what is normally used at GLSEN. Throughout the day, staff took part in a lively Wii competition (a la Michael Jackson: The Experience and Dance Dance Revolution) and competed in several rounds of Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase, and old-fashioned darts.

The competition is fierce.

A make-shift photo booth was set up to capture some memorable moments. But we'll let our fair-minded readers be the final judges.

Say "Hello!" to some of our Communications staff

Every year, GLSEN's holiday party includes a Silent Auction where staff bring a small item (new or gently used) for others to bid on. Proceeds raised from the annual auction are donated to a local organization that directly serves the LGBT community.


Some of the items up for bidding included:

    • Yoshitomo Nara Wood Prints
    • Legalize Trans T-Shirt
    • 15 awesome CDs in German
    • Knitting lessons
    • Battlestar Gallactica (Seasons 1-3)
    • Handmade scarf
    • Issey Miyake body products
    • World map
    • Restoration Hardware foot duvets
    • A Bengali lunch
  • Fish mold



Over $500 was raised from the staff's Silent Auction to benefit The Ali Forney Center, a LGBT youth homeless shelter based in New York. The organization offers additional services including a drop-in center, medical care, employment assistance, counseling and transitional housing.


As GLSEN gets ready for the winter holidays, we asked a handful of our staff to answer the following question:

"What’s oneof your favorite things to do during the winter holidays?"



Here are some of their answers:


Ashley, Accounting Manager: I love to dress up my cats andtake photos of them posing with the gifts under the tree.

 



La-Trinnia, Constituent Relationship Manager: My dad and I pile all 15 of my niecesand nephews in the van and drive around checking out theneighborhood Christmas decorations and drinking hot chocolate.

 

Brian M., Online Strategies Manager: Myfamily makes æbleskiver. It’s supposed to be a Danish dessert, but we usually can’t wait and eat them all Christmas morning.


Ian, Special Events and Online Giving Manager: Wandering through the Holiday fairs while listening to“All I want for Christmas is You,” on repeat.


Kris, Executive Assistant: My best friend and I prepare a huge Christmas feast forfriends, family, and community members who will be here in New York for theholiday.


Brian S., Major and Planned Gifts Manager: Everyyear I look forward to driving to Ohio for a 3 day marathon of family Christmasparties, lots of eggnog, and hopefully snow.

 



Emily, Senior Research Associate: Ialways make chocolate fondue on New Year's Eve. Chocolate covered strawberriesgo great with champagne!


Kiwi, Community Initiatives Associate: As an atheist, the holidays don't have anyspiritual significance for me, but I appreciate the opportunity theyprovide to bring my family together. I also have a soft spot for watchingRudolph on TV.


Thank you to all of our readers for being a part of GLSEN's work to create safe and respectful schools for all students. The work we've been able to carry out for more than 20 years has only been possible because of your generosity and unwavering belief in our mission.

 

And don't forget to connect with us on your winter break. Let us know how you're spending the holidays by sending us a tweet on Twitter at @glsen or by leaving us a message on the GLSEN Facebook page.

 

On behalf of all of the GLSEN staff, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday!



January 04, 2015

The Casper Star Tribune in Wyoming recently reported on Buffalo High School football coach Pat Lynch who was forced to resign after distributing to the football team a gag report about bullying.

The "Hurt Feelings" report was laced with homophobic and sexist remarks including "I am a pussy," "I am a queer" and "I am a little bitch." You can view the survey in its entirety here.
Lynch was the school's head football coach for the past 13-plus seasons. He coached the high school football team to two state titles in 2004 and 2005.
The coach submitted his resignation as head coach and weight room supervisor to the Johnson County school board this week. At a school board meeting, a letter of apology from Lynch was read aloud.
In his letter, the coach wrote:
I would like to apologize for my lapse in judgment and the poor choice that I made from my position as the Head Football Coach for Buffalo High School...I know that this situation has caused you pain and discomfort, and for that I am truly sorry. As a person and a professional, I believe I will learn and grow from this experience and use it to help others.

What remains unclear is why the school board allowed Lynch to stay on as a guidance counselor when he resigned for overtly sharing inappropriate material with students that was clearly sexist and homophobic.

The high school has reportedly not commented on the decision to retain Lynch as an employee of the school district.

According to data from the GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey, a national survey of 7,261 middle and high school students revealed that more than half (58.2%) of the survey participants felt "somewhat comfortable" or "very comfortable" talking to a school-based mental health professional like a guidance counselor about LGBT issues.

If a majority of LGBT students perceive school-based mental health professionals to be safe and affirming school personnel, it seems questionable the Johnson County school district would retain Pat Lynch in his position as a high school guidance counselor when he poked fun of LGBT bullying.

The same argument can be made for female-identified students. Lynch's "joke survey"was littered with sexist language that would make any student wonder if this school staff member was an ally and a resource to seek out for support or assistance.

It's clear that LGBT students need supportive educators that model behavior that promotes respect and the positive value in difference. In the same GLSEN study, LGBT students who can identify supportive educators reported feeling safer in school and obtaining higher grade point averages than other students (3.1 vs 2.7).

Similarly, Lynch sent the wrong message to Buffalo High School athletes that homophobia and sexism are acceptable within competitive sports. But we know this is not an isolated incident.

In response, Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project was formed to address similar anti-LGBT incidents found within school athletics. The project aims to create and maintain an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principles of respect, safety and equal access for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Coaches, athletes and teams have come together to promote this inclusive message to others like Pat Lynch in the sports community. GLSEN recently teamed up with The Ad Council and the NBA to produce a public service announcement on the very issue. You can watch it below:

Have you heard any anti-LGBT remarks or experienced harassment by your school personnel because of your sexual orientation or gender identity/expression? Or does your school do an amazing job at supporting LGBT students? Let us know!

Send us a tweet at @glsen or talk to us on our Facebook Page.

January 04, 2015

In an article by the The Hollywood Reporter, film director Brett Ratner announced that he was stepping down from producing the 84th Academy Awards after coming under fire for using anti-gay slurs in a recent screening of "Tower Heist."

Ratner was participating a Q&A session for his upcoming film when he responded to a question about rehearsals from an audience member saying, "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for fags."

GLSEN intimately knows the damaging effects of anti-gay slurs and they can often be heard in school hallways, cafeterias, cafeterias or the locker room.

According to the 2009 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, 72.4% of students reported they heard homophobic remarks like "dyke" or "faggot" frequently or often at school.

The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students also found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.

Ratner's homophobic comment quickly gained widespread attention causing a flurry of criticism and resulting in Ratner's resignation as producer of the Academy Awards.

The film director wrote in a public statement:

So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.

Brett Ratner called Tom Sherak, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to announce his resignation from the awards show.

In response, Sherak said in a brief statement:


"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent."

GLSEN continues to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their experiences with homophobic remarks and harassment. Our partnership with the Ad Council on the "Think Before You Speak" ad campaign is designed to draw attention to the use of remarks like "that's so gay," the consequences of the casual use of this language.

This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.

Have you heard any anti-LGBT remarks or experienced harassment because of your sexual orientation or gender identity? Let us know!

Send us a tweet at @glsen or talk to us on the GLSEN Facebook page.

Pages

Find Your Chapter