The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
GLSEN is a national education organization making schools safer for ALL students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
The Downeast Maine chapter of GLSEN was founded in 1997. Though we have always been a small group, we have accomplished several notable things. Among those have been a series of statewide conferences for GLBTQ youth and their allies called "Building Bridges of Respect". Through those we have served over 1000 youth.
We have been encouraging local Gay-Straight-Trans Alliances and are coordinating communications among them. GSTA get-togethers are planned with our support. We are keenly aware of the isolation and lack of support available to LGBTQ youth in the more rural areas of the state.
We have done several "safe-zone" trainings at local colleges; faculty in-service trainings at local schools; a conference for local school librarians; and another conference for school nurses, counselors, health educators and librarians. And together with GLSEN Southern Maine we have sponsored a GLSEN "Training of Trainers" event in Farmington in the spring of 2006. We intend to conduct a series of similar training events at various locations around the state during the coming years. In 2013 we provided a training at the University of Maine, Presque Isle, to over 70 participants, including over 40 undergraduate teachers-to-be.
We maintain close coordination with local PFLAG and Outright members; with Equality Maine, and with the School Civil Rights Team Project of the Attorney General's office. Several of our members have been centrally involved in crafting legislation to reduce school bullying and youth suicide; and in the political effort to gain equal rights for GLBT citizens in Maine, including most recently marriage equality. Some of us have served on the Governor's Commission on LGBTQ Youth.
phone: 207 217-9873