November 02, 2015
October 29, 2015
In 2015, GLSEN celebrates 25 years of victories.
Help GLSEN continue to achieve victories and make schools safer and more affirming for all.
October 22, 2015
Each year in Los Angeles and New York, the GLSEN Respect Awards showcase the work of students, educators, individuals, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models for LGBT youth. Many friends of GLSEN come together to celebrate this work–and sometimes pose on the red carpet with Target’s Bullseye. Target has supported GLSEN over the past three years to improve the physical and psychological wellness of LGBT youth.
1. Jason Collins and Bullseye
In 2013, GLSEN Respect Awards honoree Jason Collins was the first active out athlete in the NBA, MLB, NHL or NFL. By coming out, Collins broke monumental barriers for and raised the hopes of LGBT student athletes in K-12 schools. Click here to watch him accept the Courage Award at the 2013 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York.
2. Robbie Rogers and Bullseye
The openly gay LA Galaxy soccer player, Robbie Rogers, was one of the honorary co-chairs of the 2013 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles, and he came back the next year as a co-host. Recently, Robbie partnered with Proper Assembly to create limited edition cinch bags in support of GLSEN.
3. Kirsten Vangsness and Bullseye
Kirsten Vangsness, a star on the CBS drama series Criminal Minds, has been a vocal supporter of LGBT youth. She tweeted her support of GLSEN’s Day of Silence and spoke about sexual fluidity on the red carpet at the 2014 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles.
4 & 5. Jim Parsons, Todd Spiewak, and Bullseye
With his partner Todd Spiewak, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Jim Parsons, who stars in The Big Bang Theory and The Normal Heart, received the Inspiration Award at the 2013 GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles. Watch them accept their award here. For the second year in a row, the couple will return to the GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles as honorary co-chairs.
Like Target, these friends of GLSEN have had a significant impact on the lives of LGBT youth. To GLSEN, respect means making an impact.
What does respect mean to you? Join the conversation by tweeting with #RespectAwards.
October 21, 2015
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of the 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS). The SHPPS provides nationally representative data about schools’ efforts to address the health of K-12 students, including lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students.
Unfortunately, the results are not uplifting. Although the SHPPS finds that the portion of schools providing specific health services for LGB students has significantly increased since 2000, even now only about a third (35%) of U.S. high schools provided these LGB-specific services.
The study also found that only 17% of high school health service coordinators received professional development (PD) about LGB student health, and that only 38% of high schools had Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). Through our research, GLSEN has found that professional development works and that both supportive educators and GSAs are critical to creating a positive school climate for all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
Luckily, GLSEN has resources to provide professional development and to help GSAs get started. Educators and students can use these resources to make change in their schools. Especially when implemented alongside LGBT-inclusive policies and curricula, professional development and GSAs have a positive impact on school climate.
The SHPPS findings on school’s efforts are not surprising given what we learned from LGBT students themselves. Most LGBT students are not provided with a health education that addresses their needs – less than 5% report being taught any positive information about LGBT people or topics in their health classes.
In 1999, with our initial National School Climate Survey, GLSEN gathered the first set of national data on the school experiences of LGBT youth. Over 15 years later, there is still little information on schools’ efforts to address the educational and health disparities for these youth. That’s why we applaud the CDC for their 2014 inclusion of LGB student health and GSAs in the SHPSS. It is the first time they included questions about GSAs, which is monumental.
Unfortunately, the 2014 SHPSS failed to include questions about health services for transgender youth, who are disproportionately victimized by harassment and are at especially high risk for substance use and other mental health issues. The inclusion of LGB students and GSAs in the SHPSS is a great start, but we need data on how schools are (or are not) addressing the health of transgender youth, too.
GLSEN recently worked with the U.S. Department of Education to add more specific questions about anti-transgender bias in schools to their School Survey on Crime and Safety. We hope that the CDC will follow suit by including questions about health services for transgender students in future installments of the SHPSS.
Truly LGBT-inclusive data is needed to understand school climate for LGBT youth and identify areas for improvement. But until then, this new SHPSS data does demonstrate the need for policies, training, and resources on LGB-inclusive health services and continued support of GSAs. Students, educators, policymakers, and community members can use these findings to advocate for change in their local schools and make schools healthy environments for all students.
Emily Greytak, PhD is the Director of Research at GLSEN.
October 19, 2015
October 14, 2015
This morning—like every other school day—parents across the country started their day by packing lunches, tying shoe laces, and walking their children to bus stops. As they send their children off to learn and grow each day, their minds often race with worries. Will my child make friends? Will she pay attention in class? Will he encounter bullies?
Parents have enough to worry about for their kids. The fear of bullying shouldn’t add to their concerns.
Unfortunately, for parents of LGBT youth—and for LGBT youth themselves—bullying is not just a concern. It’s often an everyday reality. According to GLSEN’s latest National School Climate Survey, 74 percent of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55 percent because of their gender expression.
And it doesn’t stop there. LGBT students who routinely face bullying and discrimination are more likely to get lower grades, skip school, and drop out. They are also less likely to attend college. The result of bullying is clear: children lose hope and their opportunities diminish.
Hope and opportunity are values at the very heart of the communities that Wells Fargo serves. That’s why we are committed to standing firm against bullying, especially during Bullying Prevention Month. It’s also why, over the last several years, Wells Fargo has supported GLSEN’s goal of placing a GLSEN Safe Space Kit in every middle school and high school in the U.S.
Working together, we achieved that goal. Each Kit contains GLSEN’s Safe Space stickers, Safe Space posters, and GLSEN’s Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students. We hope that these simple tools help educators become allies to LGBT youth and show students they have the support they need—and provide the hope and opportunity to help them thrive.
The results are uplifting. A recent evaluation of GLSEN’s Safe Space Kit, which Wells Fargo was proud to support, shows educators who received the Kit are making a difference. Nine out of 10 taught their students about the importance of respecting all people. Three-quarters intervened when they witnessed anti-LGBT behavior, such as bullying and biased remarks.
For all of us at Wells Fargo, the success of this program shows that we can truly make a difference in the fight to end bullying. That's why Wells Fargo supports organizations such as GLSEN in their commitment to stopping the bullying of LGBT youth.
By investing in community outreach through efforts like the distribution of GLSEN’s Safe Space Kits, we hope to address the issue of bullying head-on and create an educational environment where all students can thrive and reach their maximum potential.
Hope Hardison is the Chief Administrative Officer and HR Director of Wells Fargo.
October 11, 2015
Everyone should learn these things in school because these things matter. But teaching them also matters. GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey found that LGBT students in schools with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum felt more connected to their school community and were less likely to hear homophobic remarks often or frequently.
Unfortunately, only 19% of LGBT students were taught positive representations about LGBT history, people, or events in school. In fact, a number of states have laws that limit educators' ability to discuss LGBT issues in the classroom. But as this LGBT History Month comes to a close, you have the power to make change right now. Students, educators, and community members can go to school officials to advocate for LGBT inclusion in school curriculum.
These few things only scratch the surface of LGBT inclusion in school curriculum, and they only represent a snippet of LGBT history. In fact, LGBT history is made every day, by simple acts of respect and award-winning acts of bravery.
Photo Credit: (1) By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons (2) By NickGorton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons (3) By Jon Callas from San Jose, USA (Alan Turing) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (4) By New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
October 05, 2015
October 02, 2015
I cannot stress enough how important you are.
From leading policy change, to speaking out against bullying, to providing help to friends and loved ones—you make a difference. And GLSEN’s Ally Week is here to help you become a better ally to LGBT students.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. You can never stop learning and growing. I know speaking about gender and sexuality can be difficult, so always gauge how your questions will be received, and if they're necessary.
2. Be an ally to all people, all the time.
3. Learning to speak your truths and actively listen to others’ truths is the best way to progress toward understanding and change.
I hope you take this week to appreciate those in your life you're positively affecting, and maybe even your own allies. You can learn more about being an ally to LGBT youth on GLSEN’s Ally Week webpage.
Olly Kelly is a member of GLSEN's National Student Council.
October 01, 2015
No one should ever feel isolated.
I say this after years of constant isolation from my peers. Growing up in the middle of the Bible Belt, I am no stranger to watching prejudice unfold before my very eyes. There are so many expectations placed upon the youth here. For example, if you are not rich, white, straight, and of the Christian faith, you are an outsider.
I am not rich.
I am not straight.
I am not Christian.
It was not until I got into high school that I ever felt remotely comfortable in my skin. Why did things suddenly change for me? I found my allies.
An ally to me is someone that I feel comfortable around. An ally is an extension of my voice. There will certainly be times in life when I am not there to stand up for myself, and allies will shamelessly speak up in my place. An ally does not just accept who I am; an ally stands with me proudly.
A common misconception is that the only people who can be allies are people from “outside” of the LGBTQ+ community. This mindset casually overlooks the potential of people within this wonderful community to be allies to one another. As a Caucasian, pansexual woman (which means that my sexual attraction is not limited to any gender), I can offer my support and allegiance to transgender men and women of color. My support can go to gay men, to lesbian women, to gender-nonconforming individuals, to asexual people, and to everyone else in the spectrums of gender and sexuality.
If I were to only focus on supporting people just like myself, nothing would ever get accomplished. It is incredibly important that the LGBTQ+ community has internal support instead of internal isolation.
Allies are essential to progress. Like so many others, I have relied on allies for support when my life has felt turned upside down. By being an ally, no matter who you are or where you are, you have the opportunity to touch so many lives, some that you may never even know about.
Thank you to all of the wonderful allies. Together, let’s create change. Here are a few tips to consider:
1. Speak from your own experiences. Use your voice to tell your story. Where have you seen conflicts arise? What have you done to stop them? Tell that story.
2. Never assume what someone is comfortable with. Not everyone has the same past experiences. Not everyone has the same comfort zone either. Certain jokes or terms could seem lighthearted to you yet gut-wrenching to others.
3. Always speak up. If you see something wrong, say it. By calling out injustice rather than remaining silent, you can draw attention to issues and focus on resolving them. Be the change.
4. Provide support. Join a Gay-Straight Alliance, GLSEN Chapter, and/or any other club or organization dedicated to promoting respect for all. Get connected with others in your community that believe in the same things that you do. Many of them may face similar struggles. Support each other!
5. Stop giving excuses. There is always a way that you can contribute to your community. So instead of looking at the limitations, look at the possibilities!
If you want to know more about how you can be a better ally to LGBT youth, check out glsen.org/allyweek!
Lindsay D. is a member of GLSEN’s National Student Council.