Pass and Implement LGBTQ-Affirming Policies

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A row of seven students stands in front of a state capital holding GLSEN signs that read: Protect Trans Youth.
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A young student playing on a playground.

Passing and implementing comprehensive policies around key issues for LGBTQ students is crucial to ensuring that LGBTQ students can learn and grow in a supportive environment. These can include:

  • Harassment, bullying, and non-discrimination policies

  • Policies for facilities accessibility for trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary students

  • Policies affirming trans and gender non-conforming students’ participation in athletics

There are a number of ways educators and schools can support inclusive, comprehensive policies, as well as fight against discriminatory state legislation, like “no promo homo” laws. Check out our resources to learn about the importance of enumeration in anti-bullying policies and our model policies to help guide your own advocacy efforts in your states, districts, and schools.

Visit our policy pages to learn more about issues that affect you and find out which states are getting it right and where there is still work to be done.

Bullying, Harassment, & Discrimination

LGBTQ students experience bullying, harassment, and discrimination at higher rates than their non-LGBTQ peers.These patterns of victimization have serious consequences. The 2017 National School Climate Survey revealed that 87.3% of LGBTQ students experienced harassment or assault based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender expression, gender, religion, race and ethnicity, and disability. But 55.3% of these students never reported incidents of harassment to a teacher, principal, or administrator. More supportive school environments are necessary for LGBTQ students—and all students—to thrive.

GLSEN advances enumerated anti-harassment, anti-bullying, and comprehensive school non-discrimination policies at the federal, state, district, and school level. Enumeration, or defining these specific classes or identity groups within a policy, underscores groups of students that research shows are most likely to be bullied and harassed and least likely to be protected by generic policies. Enumeration gives teachers and other educators the tools they need to implement anti-bullying and harassment policies, which makes it easier for them to intervene to prevent and stop bullying. 

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A student wearing a pink hat walks past a bank of bright yellow lockers. At the lockers are four other students, two kneeling, who are opening their lockers or rummaging inside.
55.3% of LGBTQ students who experienced harassment or assault never reported incidents of harassment to a teacher, principal, or administrator.
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A group of elementary students getting on a school bus.

Only 14 states provide non-discrimination protections to students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

On the federal level, courts have found that students have a right to be protected from harassment, bullying, and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity under Title IX. GLSEN also champions our signature legislation, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would provide nationwide protections for LGBTQ students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. 

On the state level, while all 50 states have state anti-bullying and anti-harassment laws, only 21 states have comprehensive enumerated policies. These comprehensive policies specifically work to provide schools with clear definitions of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment and create accountability mechanisms that are put into practice when students report bullying and harassment. 

Just 14 states provide non-discrimination protections to students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The National School Climate Survey found that 62.2% of students reported experiencing LGBTQ-related discriminatory policies or practices at school, including being prevented from wearing clothes considered “inappropriate” based on their legal sex, accessing a restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, and being prohibited from discussing or writing about LGBTQ topics in school assignments. 

In schools without specific policies protecting LGBTQ students and individuals, school personnel may fear that they will themselves be targeted for intervening on behalf of LGBTQ students. In the 2017 National School Climate Survey, students reported that teachers were significantly more likely to intervene when they hear homophobic remarks most of the time or always in schools with comprehensive enumerated policies, as compared to schools with either non-enumerated policies or no policies at all (27.9% vs. 13.6% vs. 8.4%). By providing educators with clear language that outlines their responsibility to provide protections for LGBTQ students, schools can make it easier, and safer, to encourage supportive educators.

87.3% of LGBTQ students experienced harassment or assault based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender expression, gender, religion, race and ethnicity, and disability.

Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination Research

Type
Research, Reports, and Briefs
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Inclusive Curriculum
Educators who support LGBTQ students may face hostile school climates. This brief reveals the similarities and differences between LGBTQ and non-LGBTQteachers’ experiences of engaging in LGBTQ-inclusive and supportive teaching.
Type
Research, Reports, and Briefs
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Identity Topic
Students of Color
Indigenous LGBTQ Students
Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native LGBTQ and two-spirit students experience hostile school climates, but school resources can make a difference.
Type
Research, Reports, and Briefs
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Identity Topic
Students of Color
Latinx LGBTQ Students
Latinx LGBTQ and students experience hostile school climates, but school resources can make a difference.

No Promo Homo Laws

Six states explicitly prohibit the positive portrayal of homosexuality in schools through specific education laws, often referred to as “no promo homo” laws because they mandate “no promotion of homosexuality.” Among these laws, some stipulate a restriction of any representation of homosexuality, while others go further by restricting any positive representations, meaning that educators can teach about homosexuality—but only in a negative light. 

In cases where the law prevents any representation of homosexuality, LGBQ students may feel invisible as they are prevented from learning information about themselves and their communities in school. In cases where the law prevents positive portrayals of homosexuality and/or promotes negative portrayals, LGBQ students may receive negative messages about themselves, leaving them feeling stigmatized and alienated. In addition, other students may not have the opportunity to learn accurate information about LGBQ people, history, or events, which would potentially prevent prejudices, increase acceptance, and lead to a decrease in bias incidents at school. 

While “no promo homo” laws don’t necessarily preclude educators from portraying transgender people and issues in school, educators who are prohibited from presenting homosexuality in a positive light may believe these prohibitions apply to transgender people and issues as well. It’s very likely that “no promo homo” laws may stigmatize transgender individuals and restrict transgender youth from learning about themselves and their communities in school. School staff, particularly those who are not educated on the parameters of the law, may avoid including LGBTQ topics not only in sexual health education, but also in other courses, and may refrain from demonstrating public support of LGBTQ students for fear of violating the law. 

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A map No Promo Homo Laws and Laws that Prohibit Enumeration
There are currently six states that have these types of laws: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

“No promo homo” laws may also have a detrimental effect on various other supportive actions that could be taken by educators, administrators, and students, such as establishing a Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) or similar student club, or providing staff training on LGBTQ topics.

 

Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination Resources

Type
Policy and Advocacy
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Program
No Name Calling Week
Type
Educator Guides
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Program
No Name Calling Week
Type
Policy and Advocacy
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Type
Policy and Advocacy
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination
Type
Policy and Advocacy
Issue
Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination

Facilities Accessibility for Trans, GNC and Non-Binary Students

All students deserve to be safe, included, and respected in school, regardless of their gender identity or expression—including transgender and gender nonconforming students. The 2017 National School Climate Survey shows that transgender youth face a harsh reality in too many of our nation’s schools. 94% reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression. More than half of transgender students face discrimination, with 50.9% of transgender students reporting having been prevented from using their preferred name or pronoun and 60% reporting being forced to use school facilities that don’t match their gender identity.

GLSEN and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) teamed up to create the Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students which offers guidance and policy language for families, educators, and administrators to create and implement policies that ensure that their schools are fostering a safe learning environment for all youth. Key issues addressed are: 

  • offering definitions for gender identity, gender expression, and other key terms
  • bullying, harassment, and discrimination
  • privacy and confidentiality for transgender, gender nonconforming and non-binary students
  • names, pronouns, and school records
  • access to gender-segregated activities and facilities
  • dress codes
  • student transitions
  • working with parents and family
  • training and professional development for educators. 
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An image of school stairs.
More than half of transgender students face discrimination, with 50.9% of transgender students reporting having been prevented from using their preferred name or pronoun and 60% reporting being forced to use school facilities that don’t match their gender identity.

Trans, GNC and Non-Binary Students in Athletics

All students should have full access to all aspects of school life, including athletics. Athletics can and should provide a unique opportunity for inclusion for all students, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. GLSEN advocates for policies that ensure that transgender students can participate in sports on a team or in competition based on their gender identity.
    
The Experiences of LGBT Students in School Athletics, a GLSEN research brief, reports that LGBTQ athletes have a GPA that is between 0.2 and 0.4 points higher on a 4.0 scale than students not participating in athletics and that 56% of LGBTQ team members and 66% of team leaders competing in high school sports report feeling a positive sense of belonging at school.  Despite this encouraging data, many states and school districts struggle with the issue of inclusion in athletics. 

Currently, 19 state interscholastic athletic associations have policies that support participation by transgender K-12 student athletes on the basis of their gender identity, 13 states have no standard policies accessible to the public that guide transgender inclusion in sports, and 18 states have policies that prohibit participation by transgender student athletes. In these states, these policies are implemented by governing boards of state level interscholastic athletic or activity associations which each have their own composition of decision makers and process for altering policy and guidelines. 

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Two students in red soccer jerseys sitting out a soccer game.
Currently, 19 state interscholastic athletic associations have policies that support participation by transgender K-12 student athletes on the basis of their gender identity.
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TEXT: Transgender inclusive high school athletic association policies by state. Below is a map of the United States. A legend indicates that gold means: State athletic associations with policies that support participation by transgender athletes. Grey means: State athletic association has no policy. States colored in gold are: WA, OR, CA, NV, UT, AZ, WY, CO, SD, MN, MA, VT, NY, CT, NJ, MA, DC, VA, and FL. States colored in magenta are: ID, NM, ND, NE, KS, OK, TX,  IA, MO, AR, LA, WI, IL, KY, AL, OH, NC, ME

In advocating for inclusive athletic policies, GLSEN asserts that:

  1. Transgender students have a right to participate in athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
  2. When a transgender student or family member comes to school administrators with a request to participate in school-based athletics in a way that is consistent with their gender identity, the school district should work with their affiliated state association to help ensure that the student is granted eligibility.
  3. State athletic associations have a responsibility to promote a fair, affirming, and discrete process to confirm the eligibility of transgender athletes.
  4. Transgender students have a non-negotiable right to both privacy and confidentiality as they seek eligibility and throughout competition as a transgender athlete.
  5. Transgender student athletes, once approved for play, have the right to access locker rooms, changing facilities, and restrooms as consistent with their gender identity.

Currently Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming (19 states plus D.C.) have policies that support participation by transgender K-12 student athletes based on their gender identity.

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Bonnie Washick

Federal Policy Manager
Pronouns: She/Her

Bonnie Washick

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Tessa J. Juste

State and Local Policy Manager
Pronouns: She/Her

Tessa J. Juste

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Jade deShong-Logan

Sr. Operations Manager
Pronouns: She/Her

Jade deShong-Logan

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Adrian Zongrone, MPH

Research Associate
Pronouns: He/Him

Adrian Zongrone, MPH

Adrian's introduction to GLSEN began when working in a South Carolina children's museum, where he used GLSEN's school climate research to demonstrate the need for LGBTQ-affirming museum programming, policies, and practices. He left the museum world to obtain a Master in Public Health degree at NYU, where his research focused on sexual health, substance use, and queer identity development. While in school, Adrian was also fortunate enough to intern as GLSEN’s 2016 Summer Research Fellow. A year later, he officially joined the GLSEN Research Institute Team on staff to help put LGBTQ-focused education research into the hands of advocates around the country. At GLSEN, his research interests remain focused on LGBTQ+ youth health outcomes, as well as the experiences of LGBTQ+ students of color. Adrian also supports GLSEN’s international work, primarily by helping to advance research initiatives from our many NGO partners around the globe that work to support and affirm LGBTQ+ youth in schools. He is also a former college radio DJ and an avid gamer who will never turn down a good, complicated board game.

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Nhan Truong, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate
Pronouns: He/Him

Nhan Truong, Ph.D.

Dr. Nhan Truong is a Senior Research Associate at the GLSEN Research Institute. He completed his Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His research interests include the school experiences of LGBTQ+ youth at the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation, as well as social psychological factors that are associated with health and mental health among LGBTQ+ ethnic minority populations. Dr. Truong has published his research in several peer-reviewed academic journals. He is a co-author on GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey reports and in a series of reports on the school experiences of LGBTQ students of color. Dr. Truong also co-leads a study on the experiences of students and advisors, with GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexual Alliances) at their schools. Before coming to GLSEN, Dr. Truong spent two years as an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Tougaloo College, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Mississippi, and two years as a Research Scientist at My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Mississippi that aims to reduce health disparities among marginalized populations. In his spare time, Dr. Truong enjoys participating in various fitness activities, such as hiking, running, and weightlifting. He is also a self-proclaimed tea aficionado.

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Caitlin Clark, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate
Pronouns: She/Her

Caitlin Clark, Ph.D.

Caitlin (or Caitie) has a PhD in Developmental Psychology with a portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has experience teaching, evaluating, and conducting research in schools of all levels. Caitie’s research specialties include the experiences of transgender and nonbinary youth, LGBTQ+ youth in sports, and elementary education. Before GLSEN, Caitie worked as an Evaluation Analyst at the Austin Independent School District and she has taught at the undergrad and preschool level. Outside of work Caitie loves live music, attempting complicated and new recipes, and women’s soccer.

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Joseph Kosciw, Ph.D.

Director of Research
Pronouns: He/Him

Joseph Kosciw, Ph.D.

Dr. Joseph Kosciw is Director of the GLSEN Research Institute. GLSEN is recognized worldwide as an innovative leader in the education, youth development and civil rights sectors fighting to end bias-based bullying, violence and discrimination in K-12 schools and promote a culture of respect for all. For nearly two decades, the GLSEN Research Institute has supported the organization's mission by conducting original research on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in K-12 education and evaluating GLSEN programs and initiatives. The Institute also provides technical assistance to local GLSEN chapters and other safe school advocates in the U.S. who wish to conduct research on LGBTQ student experiences, and houses GLSEN's international initiatives which provide technical assistance to NGO and education leaders on LGBT issues in education across the globe.

Dr. Kosciw has a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from New York University, a B.A. in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences and an M.S.Ed. in Psychological Services in Education from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kosciw trained as a family therapist and has worked as a school counselor and psychoeducational consultant in elementary and secondary schools. He has been conducting community-based research for over 20 years, including program evaluations for non-profit service organizations and for local government. Under his leadership, GLSEN Research focuses on understanding the school experiences of all students, specifically as they are related to issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, the school experiences of LGBT parents, perceptions of educators and school administrators regarding school climate, and the utility of school- and community-based efforts regarding bullying and harassment and efforts to create safe and affirming learning environments. GLSEN’s research is widely used for education policy advocacy as well as commonly cited in public media regarding LGBT student issues and school safety.

Kosciw’s work has been published in diverse scholarly and practitioner journals, including the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, the Journal of School Violence, and the Prevention Researcher. He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of LGBT Youth: The Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Practice, Research, Policy, and Theory. He has also appeared on numerous national television and radio programs as an expert on LGBT student experiences.

In addition to his passions for community-based research, Dr. Kosciw is passionate about dogs, Eurovision, and Ukrainian pop music.

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Stephan Peters

Accounting Manager
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Stephan Peters

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Ashley Dinan

Senior Accounting Manager
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Ashley Dinan

Ashley joined GLSEN in 2005 as a Finance Associate to support the accounting processes of the GLSEN National Office and Chapter Network. Ashley's work in the non-profit sector began at the Huntington's Disease Society of America as the Chapter Operations Coordinator, working similarly with both the National Office and Chapter Network. Prior to that, Ashley has held positions at Credit Lyonnais and served as a legal clerk.

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Onyx Ewa

Youth Programs Associate
Pronouns: They/Them

Onyx is a multi-talented artist, activist, writer, and model who dreams of using art to amplify their voice and produce positive social change. They were named GLSEN's Student Advocate of the Year in 2019 due to their work with GSAs and GSA coalitions. In their free time, they enjoy making clothes, reading, and playing classical guitar. They are now a student at Harvard University, a Point Foundation Scholar, and a GLAAD/Teen Vogue 20 Under 20 Honoree.

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Michael Rady

Rainbow Library Program Manager
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Michael Rady

Michael Rady (he/him) is a queer educator, organizer, and reader. Michael believes radical transformation is needed in American education to deliver equity for all learners, especially BIPOC students and LGBTQ+ students. Before joining GLSEN, Michael was a third-grade teacher, curriculum writer, and Senate education policy staffer. Michael’s involvement in LGBTQ+ inclusive education started when he was asked to lead the LGBTQ+ staff community group for a network of public schools in the Northeast. Interest in the group grew immensely: it increased to over 500 members, marched in pride parades, and transformed internal policies for LGBTQ+ staff and students. In 2018, Michael joined GLSEN’s Connecticut chapter to launch the Rainbow Library, a program that sends queer-affirming books to schools. Since then, the program has grown to thousands of locations in dozens of states. He sees the Rainbow Library not only as way to help youth access queer-affirming literature, but as a bridge to other LGBTQ+ supports and policy changes. Originally from New York, Michael currently splits his time between Nashville, Tennessee, where his partner and their dog, Reese, reside, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Michael is pursuing a Master of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Indie Landrum

Youth Programs Associate
Pronouns: They/Them

Indie Landrum

Indie is a trans nonbinary queer neurodivergent artist. Their experience being a homeless queer/trans youth shaped their devotion to youth work and social justice. Indie has over 10 years of experience working directly with youth in various way, from case management with homeless youth to community organizing development of queer and trans students. They have a passion for making mediocre art and cuddling with their adorable fur-babies.

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a.t. furuya

Senior Youth Programs Manager
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

a.t. furuya

a.t. furuya (they/them/ theirs) is a neurodivergent queer trans nonbinary Japanese American dedicated to Transformative Justice work toward liberation for those impacted by systems of oppression and violence. a.t. has been serving youth since 2000 as a middle school teacher, high school track and field coach, mentor, direct service provider, and advocate. They have provided consultation and training for school districts, schools, educators, mental health professionals, and families. They co-founded San Diego Trans Pride and Trans Youth Project and have supported movements with resources, capacity building, and investing in community care. a.t. is also very committed to their Japanese garden and eating ice cream.

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Aubri Tuero

Individual Giving Manager
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Aubri Tuero

Aubri Tuero is a development professional living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a Master of International Service in Global Governance, Politics, and Security from American University in Washington, DC and a dual Bachelor of Art in History and Film & Media Arts from the University of Utah. Ms. Tuero is also a board member of Friends of Gilgal Sculpture Garden, working to preserve public art in Utah. In her personal life she enjoys taking her dog Vito to the park and discussing books with her Short Book Club.

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Morgan Stinson

Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager
Pronouns: She/Her

Morgan Stinson

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Jacqueline Schweiger

Database Manager
Pronouns: She/Her

Jacqueline Schweiger

Jacqueline Schweiger (she/her) is the Database Manager at GLSEN, where she processes and reports on donor and gift information. She has worked in nonprofit development for a number of years, including at GLAAD, the French Institute Alliance Française, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Jacqueline graduated from the University of Virginia and holds a master’s degree in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming laps, and spending time with her family.

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Steve Mancuso

Senior Major Gifts and Individual Giving Officer
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Stephen Mancuso

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Ricky Carter

Associate Director of Development, West
Pronouns: He/Him

Ricky Carter

Ricky Carter (He/Him) is GLSEN’s Associate Director of Development, based in Los Angeles on Tongva, Kizh, and Chumash land. He joined the GLSEN family in July 2019 after seven years at GLAAD where he produced the GLAAD Media Awards, raised major gifts for the organization, and facilitated corporate partnerships. He started his career on the programs team as their Entertainment Media Intern and as a Field Intern for Equality California.

Ricky was born in Hollywood, FL and graduated from the University of Florida, where he was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame. During his time there, he helped transform their LGBTQ+ student life. As a teen, Ricky performed as his drag persona Sunset Marmalade in the local Rocky Horror Picture Show cast. His passions include all things pop culture, long distance cycling, dodgeball, and his adorable White Shepard Buffy (named after the title character of his favorite show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). His favorite musicians include Portishead, Japanese Breakfast, Madonna, and Perfume Genius.

Ricky decided to dedicate his life to LGBTQ+ causes after graduating from high school and loves that he has the opportunity to raise essential funds for the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders.

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Karin Buchholz

Senior Director of Development
Pronouns: She/Her/Ella

Karin Buchholz

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Lyndsey Godwin

Manager of Network Capacity Building
Pronouns: She/Her and They/Them

Lyndsey Godwin

Growing up in rural Ohio, Lyndsey knew a more just, loving, and liberated world was possible, even if she didn’t understand how; as an adult they understand that building that world requires community, action, anti-racist practice, and a lot of humility. Using practical, learner-centered approaches, Lyndsey partners with organizers, artists, academics, faith leaders, and educators to facilitate practices that invite all to get more comfortable with discomfort in order to build solidarity and courage. Lyndsey brings nearly 15 years of anti-oppression training, program design, and coaching focused on growing queer liberation and reproductive freedom through multi-racial organizing centered in iteration, experimentation, and healing. They were one of the founding directors and board members of Nashville Launch Pad, a LGBTQ+ affirming emergency shelter for youth 18-24, and serves on the Board of Directors for SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Lyndsey is southern by the way of y’all, perpetually curious, and camp kid at heart (with over 20 years working collaboratively to design camp and youth leadership experiences).

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Jamond J. Foree

Community Mobilization Manager
Pronouns: He/Him

Jamond J. Foree

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jamond has spent his career working to improve the cognitive, physical, and social-emotional outcomes for young people from cradle to career.

Most recently Jamond provided professional development and capacity building support to the Ohio Department of Education's 21st CCLC network. Additionally, he has served as Youth Development & Education Program Director for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Senior Manager for Community Strategies at StrivePartnership and as Technical Advisor for the YMCA of the USA.

As a trainer and skilled facilitator, Jamond has worked all across the country helping organizations, school districts, and municipalities build capacity while developing strategies to ensure diversity, inclusion, and equity. In addition, Jamond is a multidisciplinary artist having worked professionally as a costume designer, actor, and writer. When he is not trying to save the world, he is busy working his most important job: Dad.

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Key Jackson

Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Power Building
Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Key Jackson

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David Eng-Chernack

Deputy Executive Director for Communications and Development
Pronouns: He/Him/His

David Eng-Chernack

David is an accomplished and progressive marketing, communications and public relations professional with extensive experience in the multi-faceted for- and not-for-profit national and international arenas. Before GLSEN, he was the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the Tenement Museum where he was responsible for all communications, marketing, advertising, brand management, media and public relations.

Prior to joining the Tenement Museum, he was the Marketing and Development Director for New York City’s Chinatown as part of the post-9/11 revitalization efforts. There he oversaw the Explore Chinatown tourism marketing campaign as well as the production of events such as Taste of Chinatown and Lunar Stages to draw visitors back to the neighborhood.

He has provided unique and unorthodox marketing approaches to a diverse roster of projects and institutions including New York City, where he helped create the landmark “I Love New York” campaign, The Metropolitan Opera and GMHC and amfAR during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

He has spoken nationally and internationally on public relations, multiculturalism and diversity marketing and outreach in Birmingham (UK), Vancouver, Washington D.C., San Antonio and London; and is an Adjunct Professor at the New School teaching Arts & Cultural Marketing and Introduction to Nonprofit Management.

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Aaron Ridings

Chief of Staff and Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy and Research
Pronouns: He, Him, His/They, Them, Theirs

Aaron Ridings

Aaron Ridings (he/they) is the Chief of Staff and Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy and Research at GLSEN. He coordinates cross departmental initiatives and directly oversees the Research Institute and the Public Policy Office based in Washington, DC. He has advanced inclusive data collection and authored and helped pass policies in partnership with federal, state, city, county, school district, and tribal governments during his twenty year career in public service. His previous experience includes serving as the Associate Director of the LGBTQ+ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, Co-Chair of the Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition, along with several other roles in LGBTQ+ missioned nonprofit organizations. He was a long-time aide to Multnomah County, Oregon Chair Deborah Kafoury and most recently had stints working for Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (KS-3). Aaron has a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University and lives with his partner in Washington, DC.