NEW YORK, October 19, 2009 - Thousands of students across the country this week are pledging to address anti-gay bullying as part of GLSEN’s fifth annual Ally Week
, a week of activities designed to encourage people to be allies against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) name-calling, bullying and harassment at school.
Ally Week, which was created by students as a way to encourage and support allies, is often organized by the more than 4,000 Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs registered with GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education network.
"Students will bring a message of respect into schools across America this week," said Lazaro Cardenas, a 17-year-old senior from Riverside, Calif. “We will ask our friends and classmates to be allies against anti-LGBT behavior by signing a pledge to not engage in that kind of activity and intervene when others do so. This is a first step toward making schools safer places to learn.”
The Ally Week pledge, which students and adults sign either through pledge cards in school or online at www.allyweek.org, reads:
I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression deserve to feel safe and supported.
That means I pledge to:
Not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) language or slurs.
Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed.
Support efforts to end bullying and harassment.
Nearly 9 out of 10 (86.2%) LGBT students experience harassment at school and 60.8% feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of 6,209 LGBT students in middle and high school.
"It is difficult to understate the powerful impact of allies who intervene when they witness anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "Allies play a crucial role in addressing and raising awareness about the pervasive problem of anti-LGBT bullying. GLSEN's Ally Week is an opportunity for students to show their commitment to the idea that all students should be valued and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."
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