January 04, 2015
On the Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention
to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools. Here are a few activities for college
organizers who want to make K-12 schools safer, healthier and more respectful for LGBT youth.

A Safe Space Kit Fundraiser

Give LGBT youth a place to learn free from bullying and harassment. Support GLSEN's Safe Space Campaign to make your former middle and high school and others safe for LGBT students. For every $20 you raise, GLSEN will send a Safe Space Kit to a middle or high school of your choosing! The GLSEN Safe Space Kit is a collection of resources for educators to create a positive
learning environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. It contains a 42-page guide that provides concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias. It also comes with Safe Space Stickers and Posters that help students identify supportive educators. Learn more at www.safespacekit.com. 

A Demonstration

Organize a silent demonstration on your own campus during Day of Silence. Encourage participants to meet in a common area during a busy time on campus to have more visibility. Handout flyers and hang posters explaining your support of DOS and against anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in K-12 schools!

A Workshop

Develop and host a workshop, before or after Day of Silence, addressing anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in K-12 schools. Invite local high school GSA student organizers and their advisors to attend. For more impact you can start a workshop campaign and tour to local GSA clubs and schools!

A Play

Work with a theatre group on campus to develop a play about stopping bullying. Host a performance on campus around Day of Silence, and invite local K-12 schools to attend. Take your show on the road! Travel to local K-12 schools and perform your play for classes and assemblies.

A Campaign

Check the anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies of your school district. Anti-bullying policies may be published in school student handbooks or available on your district's website. Does the policy provide specific protection for sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression? If there is no LGBT inclusive anti-bullying and harassment policy, you can work to change it! Contact local school board members and politicians and explain the issue and why it must be amended. Organize K-12 students to testify at a school board meeting regarding the problem of bullying and explain why specific protections are necessary. GLSEN has tools to help with this advocacy, including a Model District Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy, located here in the Tools for Developing and Implementing a Safe Schools Campaign section.

A Discussion

Facilitate a discussion after Day of Silence; invite middle and high school DOS participants to meet for an discussion about their experiences on DOS. Provide snack and light refreshments to keep it casual.   Thanks for working hard to support K-12 students! Happy organizing!

January 04, 2015

Check out another featured poem from the “What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?” call for submissions. This poem was submitted by Rachel S. from Tucson, AZ.


My lips are sealed shut I will not speak a word on This Day of Silence.   This is a day to Listen; this is a day to Think; what do you hear?   Do you hear the slurs, The insults of a bully Who picks on the weak?   Or maybe you hear Crying – the near-silent tears Of one who is hurt.   So many people; Their calls for help swallowed up By our own voices.   So today, do not Speak. Listen instead, and see What you now can hear.   Thanks for sharing your amazing poem with us, Rachel! Don't forget to register your Day of Silence event here!   *Please note, the views expressed in this submission are of the author, and are not necessarily shared by GLSEN.

January 04, 2015

Check out another featured essay from the “What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?” call for submissions. This essay was submitted by Kristin J. of Silverdale, WA. 

What Day of Silence Means to Me

Day of Silence to me is a day where I don’t talk. It’s a day where I can look back at all the times I haven’t been able to speak up, talk out, and express myself. It’s a day where myself and hundreds of other kids can show other people who haven’t been in our footsteps that yes, there are kids out there who can’t speak up. That there are kids out here that harm themselves because they have to keep everything bundled up inside. This day gives me a reason to go to school, gives me the chance to be with hundreds of other teens and even adults trying to change the world for better. I know how it feels to have to sit back and keep everything in and not be able to tell people what’s on my mind because of the way society is. I don’t want to get judged for what I believe in; I just want to be able to go on with my day knowing I am who I am. But it’s not easy if I’m the only one who knows who I am. This day shows people that we are silent for a reason.   Awesome, Kristin! Thanks for sharing your story! Check back tomorrow for more featured submissions! Don't forget to register your Day of Silence event as well! *Please note, the views expressed in the submission are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by GLSEN.

January 04, 2015

Check out the first of the featured videos from the “What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?” call for submissions. This video was submitted by Arial P. of Hendersonville, TN.

"I love standing up for what is right and helping others." -Arial

"Day of Silence 2012."


Thanks, Arial! What an inspiring message!

Check back again tomorrow to see another submission! And don’t forget to register your Day of Silence event!

January 04, 2015

Check out one of the featured videos from the "What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?" call for submissions. This video was submitted by Alexander P. of San Diego, CA. Here is what Alexander had to say about his video:

Why I myself am not a member of the LGBT community, I am friends with a lot of people who are. Many of these people are my closest friends and are dear to me. It would hurt me to see them be insulted in ways I've never really been attacked and pressured into the silence the Day of Silence tries to make others aware of. As a student filmmaker, I decided to pick up my camera and share the words of my fellow GSA club members to help bring awareness to the issues of harassment to LGBT youth. Always being a bit "different", I've tended to make the short films and music I create to be a little off and a bit odd. I've always thought weirdness is a virtue. Some people see me as being weird for trying to be nicer to people. But being under the label of LGBT doesn't really make you different, in my opinion it's how you treat people and the world around you that does.


"The Day of Silence- 2012 (A Message from CCA GSA)"

Thanks, Alexander and the CCA GSA! What an awesome video!

Check back again tomorrow to see another submission! And don't forget to register your Day of Silence event!

January 04, 2015

We've been getting lots of questions about using social media on the Day of Silence. Ultimately, it's up to your if you want to engage in social media or not on the Day of Silence! However, we think that using social media is a great way to stay connected and stand in solidarity with other Day of Silence organizers around the country. Social media is also a tool you can use to ask GLSEN for support if you are having trouble with your Day of Silence plans. If you do want to use social media, here are some ways to stay connected!


Change your cover photo and profile picture to show your participation in the event! Also "like" the Day of Silence on facebook, and feel free to post about your day with other participants!


Profile Picture


Cover Photo


Tweet the Silence

Send your tweets to #DayofSilence and follow us @DayofSilence


Tag your photos #DayofSilence

  We are looking forward to hearing from you leading up to the Day of Silence and on the Day! Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Don't forget to order your Day of Silence gear by 4/13/12!  And register your Day of Silence event here. Happy organizing, Juliann DiNicola GLSEN Community Initiatives  

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.

January 04, 2015

>Lots of great ideas and stories being shared over on the Day of Silence facebook page (link to the right). My recent favorites are the strategies that some students have come up with to have a visual show of support for the Day of Silence, to include those who, for whatever reasons, who will be silent during breaks between classes but need to talk to fulfill class requirements or have other reasons that they cannot remain silent all day or who aren't in school. My favorite so far is the simplest one: wear red to support the DOS.

As a GLSEN staffer, I am not able to pledge complete silence but I will pledge to wear red on the 17th in support of the Day of Silence.

What other suggestions do you have for supporting the silence?


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