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April 05, 2011

>Day of Silence Reporter and GLSEN Student Ambassador Nowmee S. shares this video about why the Day of Silence is an important action to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in K-12 schools. Check it out!


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Stay tuned for more Day of Silence content from Nowmee and other student reporters! If you would like to submit your story, email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

April 04, 2011

>The Day of Silence, Friday, April 15, is fast approaching and it's time to get organizing! Each week we'll post tips to help you plan your Day of Silence activities.

Goals for April 4-8

The more support you have, the more effective your event can be. Continue talking with teachers, students and community members about ways they can support your Day of Silence activities.

  • Notify Faculty: You’ve already connected with supportive teachers; now it’s time to let all staff know. Give each staff member a letter explaining what to expect on the Day of Silence. Include the contact people for the event, including the supportive staff member on your Team. Remember to be open and available to questions and concerns about the day.
  • Participant Meeting: This meeting is for everyone who intends on participating in the Day of Silence. Talk with the group about their expectations, goals, fears and hopes for the event. Staying silent for the Day isn’t easy, so it’s good to allow students to practice how to respond to questions or resistance from students and faculty. Try using the Concentric Circles Activity in Jump-Start Guide #1.
  • Back to the Press: Send your Press Release to local news media again now that Day of Silence is around the corner.
  • Make new posters: If you put up a new set of fliers and posters around the school it will cause people to take notice a second time.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 31, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Elizabeth Duthinh (b. 1990), a junior at Brown University, has been a student leader and LGBT advocate for almost seven years. As a high school freshman, Elizabeth was shocked to see the anti-LGBT bias at her school and became involved with the school’s gay-straight alliance. She was home schooled during her sophomore year and became more involved in community groups, including her local PFLAG chapter. In 2006 Elizabeth applied for and was accepted to GLSEN’s National Student Leadership Team and attended several GLSEN student leader summits to learn the skills necessary to start a community LGBT youth group. She used her newly found leadership skills to reinvigorate the GSA at the private high school she attended her junior and senior years. As one of the co-presidents of the GSA, she developed an LGBT inclusive health workshop for the school, which is still part of the school’s required curriculum today. Elizabeth also arranged for her GSA to attend a lobby day sponsored by Equality Maryland, where GSA members advocated for an LGBT-inclusive safe schools policy. The law was passed a year later and many state legislators credit Elizabeth and her GSA as having played a major role in its passage. Elizabeth is now a part of GLSEN’s national advisory board and continues to mentor student leaders from her hometown on implementing the new safe schools legislation. She is also involved in the LGBT community at Brown University, where she majors in Public Policy, and has been a driving force for transgender inclusion at the school.
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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

March 30, 2011

>We don’t have school on the Day of Silence. Does that mean I can’t participate?

Your school district may not have classes on the National Day of Silence, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate. We encourage everyone to organize their Day of Silence events on a day that works best for their school and community. Schedule your DOS activities on another day or week. You can also collaborate with other schools, GSAs and students in your area to hold your DOS on the same day so you can generate local interest.

For more organizing tips download the Day of Silence Organizing Manual.

March 29, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was a Puerto Rican American transgender activist. Most commonly known as one of the inciters of the monumental Stonewall Riots in New York City, she was also a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and later the Gay Activists Alliance also in New York City. Along with her friend, Marsha Johnson, an African American trans woman activist, she also helped found STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless trans youth. In addition to being o ne of the first trans youth shelters STAR was also one of the first political organizations for transgender rights in the world. Today the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is named in her honor. SRLP is a non-profit organization that engages in policy work and provides trainings and free legal services for transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming low-income people of color.
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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

March 28, 2011

> A message from GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard (left, in photo) on the eve of lobby day at our Safe Schools Advocacy Summit in DC. For more on #SSAS, follow @glsen on Twitter. For more insight and commentary on the Safe Schools Movement, follow Eliza on Twitter @EByard.

I've just spent the day in DC with GLSEN staff, country music singer and author Chely Wright and a terrific delegation that will have more than *90* meetings on the Hill tomorrow to tell their stories and garner support for critical legislative progress in the form of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.

As has become an annual tradition, Mara Keisling, founding Exective Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (hugging Eliza in photo), addressed the group at dinner, bringing humorous perspective to the work ahead. (For those who have never heard Mara speak, ask someone to tell you the "chifferobe story." Classic legislative lobbying humor.) By the end of a long day of training, the delegation is well-prepared and generally needs a little laughter to help them remember that their most important task - to speak honestly from their own experience - is well within their grasp.

Our work is to bring individuals with stories to tell into contact with the people who need to hear them, and to prepare those folks to make the most of the moment. And with a delegation trained and a record number of meetings secured - most with key committee members - I'm very proud of the work that the team has done and of the remarkable people who have chosen to work with us this year.

March 28, 2011

>The Day of Silence, Friday, April 15, is fast approaching and it's time to get organizing! Each week we'll post tips to help you plan your Day of Silence activities.

Goals for March 28-April 1

The more support you have, the more effective your event can be. Continue talking with teachers, students and community members about ways they can support your Day of Silence activities.

  • Educate: There are a lot of ways that your teachers can support the Day of Silence. Print out the Educators Guide and give it to teachers you think would be interested.
  • Find Community Support: It’s good to notify local supportive community groups of your events, especially if you’re holding a rally, training, or social to Break the Silence. Notify and, if applicable, invite community groups. Also, there are over thirty local GLSEN Chapters across the country. Find out if there is one near you!
  • Cross it Off: It’s possible that there are a few items on your task list that didn’t get completed in the past few weeks. Take some time to make sure that everyone is taking care of their tasks.
  • Show Appreciation: It’s important to let your Team members know that you and others appreciate their work. Take some time during your weekly meeting to let everyone express their appreciation of their fellow teammates.
  • Schedule a Participant Meeting: This is for everyone who intends on participating in Day of Silence. This may be the same group as your Team of organizers, but if not, schedule a second meeting for next week so you can prepare students for DOS.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 24, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Barbara Smith (b. 1946) is a lesbian feminist and has done much to shape modern Black feminist thought. In 1975 Barbara reorganized the Boston chapter of the National Black Feminist Organization to form the Combahee River Collective. The Combahee River Collective was a socialist Black feminist organization that emphasized the intersectionality of racial, gender, heterosexist, and class oppression in the lives of Blacks and other women of color. Barbara and the Combahee River Collective have been credited with coining the term identity politics, which they defined as “a politics that grew out of our objective material experiences as Black women.” Barbara felt the need for women of color to have their own autonomous publishing resource and in 1980, along with Audre Lorde and Cherríe Moraga, she co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which published the notable This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Barbara is currently in her second term as a member of the city council of Albany, NY.

For more, check out these sources:

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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

March 23, 2011

>Why silence? Aren’t we trying to fight against silence?

A silent demonstration can be a peaceful way to bring urgent attention to an important issue. Silence as a method of organizing is much different than silence that is coerced or forced through oppressive bullying, harassment and intimidation. A silent demonstration is active, rather than passive, and causes people to pay attention. Silent demonstrations can:

  • Bring attention to an issue and encourage reflection on the issue;
  • Simulate the how others are silenced;
  • Focus the attention on the issue or cause and not the protester;
  • Demonstrate that the demonstrators desire peaceful resolution;
  • Spark discussion and dialogue.

Through your active silence on the Day of Silence you will send a message that bullying and harassment faced by LGBT and ally youth affects you, your school and community.

And remember, the Day of Silence is a moment to open the conversation on this issue. Follow up your participation with a Breaking the Silence event. You can plan a rally at your school, facilitate a workshop for students and teachers about LGBT issues or throw a party with your GSA or host a discussion group with DOS participants. For more info on how to organize a Breaking the Silence event, check out the Day of Silence Organizing Manual.

March 22, 2011

>GLSEN is proud to honor Women's History Month by celebrating contributions of women to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Throughout March we will be recognizing heroes who have made significant contributions to the LGBT and safe schools movements. Click here for more information, and keep reading all month long for new additions!


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Urvashi Vaid (b. 1958) is an activist who has worked for over 25 years promoting civil rights for the LGBT community. She received a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston in 1983, where she founded the Boston Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, a non-partisan political organization that interviews and endorses candidates for political office and advocates for Boston's gay community. Vaid became Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 1989, and quickly built the NGLTF into the nation's pre-eminent gay rights organization. The NGLTF organizes the largest annual LGBT conference in the country, Creating Change, which focuses on organizing and skills building. Urvashi also worked for 5 years at the Ford Foundation, and has been been the Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation since late 2005. In April 2009 she was named one of Out magazine's 50 most influential men and women in America. Vaid shares homes in Manhattan and Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her partner, comedian Kate Clinton.
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We want to know who your heroes are! If you know a woman who has contributed to the LGBT and safe schools movement, post about them on the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page. You can also tweet your heroes to @DayofSilence using the #GLSENWHM hash tag!

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