About Ally Week
What is GLSEN's Ally Week?
GLSEN and students across the country, often as members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, will organize Ally Week on October 21-25, 2013 in schools and communities nationwide.
Ally Week is a week for students to engage in a national conversation and action to become better allies to LGBT youth. This doesn't only mean straight and cisgender allies, but everyone! Read further to find out more about how anyone can be a better ally against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language, bullying and harassment in America's schools.
What is an Ally?
We refer to Allies as people who do not identify as LGBT students, but support this community by standing against the bullying and harassment LGBT youth face in school. Allies can be straight or cis gender identified youth and adults, or LGBT identified adults! Anyone who takes a student against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment can be an ally.
What if I'm an Educator Ally?
Educator allies are great! So great, in fact, we have a whole page, just for you! We have a educator guide to Ally Week to ensure that you're all set when Ally Week arrives!
Are there organizations that support Ally Week?
Yes! You might now a few...ok maybe more....ok maybe all of 'em! They're great! Click here to see our growing list of Ally Week Endorsers and to learn how your organization can become an Endorser!
Who started Ally Week?
In 2005, members of GLSEN's Jump-Start National Student Leadership Team came up with an idea to celebrate Allies committed to ensuring safe and effective schools for all and to encourage students to take action. The idea turned into the first Ally Week celebrated in schools nationwide in October 2005.
What is GLSEN?
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. For more information on GLSEN's educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
Why do we need an Ally Week?
The unfortunate truth is that anti-LGBT bullying, violence and harassment are commonplace in America's schools. Actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender expression are two of the top three reasons teens report that students are harassed at their schools, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a GLSEN-commissioned report by Harris Interactive. In other words, all students - LGBT and straight alike - perceive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment as a serious problem in their schools. The vast majority of these same students said their schools would be better of if this issue was better addressed. GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey found that eight out of ten LGBT students report experiencing verbal harassment at school because of their sexual orientation, six out of ten because of their gender expression, and nearly 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. GLSEN's Ally Week brings us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America's schools. We want to ensure that all allies understand the important role they play in making schools safer for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
What do we do after Ally Week is over?
GLSEN's Ally Week is one part of a larger effort to create safe schools for all students. There is much you can do throughout the year to help make your school safer. Start by visiting our Student Action page where you can get information on other organizing tools, GLSEN Programs, and ideas for ways you can make your schools safer!
And make sure to check out the other GLSEN Programs, including the Day of Silence (April 11, 2014), No Name-Calling Week (January 20-24, 2014), and Changing the Game, GLSEN's sports project.
Like the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook Page to connect with other student organizers, ask questions, discuss Ally Week ideas and get up-to-date news from Ally Week staff!
The GLSEN Store has all the cool Ally Week and other GLSEN gear like t-shirts, buttons, stickers, posters and wristbands.
GLSEN.org: is the supporting organization for Ally Week and other GLSEN Programs including the National Day of Silence.
The National Day of Silence (April 11, 2014) is a student-led action in which students take a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country and around the world will take part to educate their schools and communities and to encourage others to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior in schools.
GLSEN Research: The 2011 National School Climate Survey, a survey of 8,584 middle and high school students conducted during 2011 found that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the previous year because of their sexual orientation and 63.9% because of their gender expression. Find more research statistics to support your organizing by going to glsen.org/research and following them on Twitter @GLSENresearch.