Today is the culmination of GLSEN's Safe Schools Advocacy Summit, a weekend of learning and lobbying in Washington, DC. Right now, more than 40 GLSEN activists are urging their representatives in Congress to make safer schools for all students. If you're sad that you can't be at the Capitol today - don't be! We've got live updates and videos to transport you from the halls of your school to the halls of power. Here's what's happened so far today: 10:38 am After breakfast, Emma and César filmed a message as they got ready for their first meetings:
11:45 am Emma had a great meeting with the office of Senator Dick Durbin:
12 pm César might have been super nervous before his meeting with Senator Kay Hagan's office, but it went perfectly!
1:15 pm Emma met with the office of one of the co-sponsors of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, Senator Mark Kirk. What a great chance to say, "Thanks!"
2:30 pm That's a full day for Emma! Three meetings down, three great opportunities to discuss safer schools. Check out her video:
3 pm César is heading into his next meeting...
3:30 pm ... and leaving the meeting:
5 pm César rounded out the day with a late visit to Senator Burr's office:
Here's our first update from Emma & César: We made it to DC safely and back to the hotel -- despite construction on the subway! We're about to head into our first workshop and wanted to send you a quick first hello. Check it out.
The Day of Silence is approaching! On April 19, students around the world will take a vow of silence to draw attention to the bullying and harassment that too many LGBT students face each day. Student ambassador César Rodriguez created a video about why you should register. Check it out!
Early registrants will get free Day of Silence gear. Plus, everyone who registers will be sent tips and resources to help your Day of Silence activities be the best they can be! Click here to register!
As you have probably noticed, news headlines have been filled with stories of coaches and athletes talking about LGBT issues. Some stories have spotlighted brave straight allies like GLSEN supporter and star NBA player Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets. Yet, it’s still far too common to read about homophobia in Physical Education and sports, including the story about Alabama high school coach’s anti-gay rant during class. But tonight, GLSEN is part of a different and uplifting storyline about coming out in the world of sports. GLSEN partnered with USA Network’s sports drama Necessary Roughness that follows the story of one player on the New York Hawks football team coming out as gay to his fellow teammates and fans. Tonight’s episode also includes a PSA with Necessary Roughness actress Callie Thorne calling attention to GLSEN’s work to create safe and affirming Physical Education and sports environments in K-12 schools. The episodes and PSA are part of USA Network’s Characters Unite month to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination and GLSEN is a proud partner of the award-winning public service program created to address the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society. Tune in tonight at 10/9 central to watch this heartening storyline unfold. And while this story was made for TV, all of us at GLSEN are working hard to ensure that one day this may be a reality for the next generation of professional athletes.
Has your Gay-Straight Alliance or similar club accomplished amazing things this year? Tell us how your club is making a difference in your schoo! Your GSA could be selected as GLSEN’s 2013 GSA of the Year, presented by AT&T, to be honored at the Respect Awards – New York on May 20. Apply now. GLSEN will send a GSA student representative and the GSA’s advisor to New York to accept the award. One runner-up will receive recognition in the Respect Awards program. Click here to nominate a GSA (including your own)! GLSEN is also calling for nominations for our 2013 Educator of the Year, presented by Sodexo. Each year GLSEN recognizes and celebrates a K-12 Educator for outstanding accomplishments and commitment to safe and affirming schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Click here to nominate an educator for GLSEN’s Educator of the Year Award The period to nominate closes February 24th at midnight, so submit today!
On January 27th, GLSEN Middle Tennessee's Jump-Start Student Leadership Team hosted "Voices on Video." In recognition and support of No Name-Calling Week, our team organized this event for local high school students which featured a creative video production workshop led by their our from Contrast Visuals & Consulting, Nathan Thompson and Scott Arnold. Nathan is a 16-time Emmy Award winning videographer and the 2012 National Press Photographer Association's National Photographer of the Year, and Scott has worked for 20 years as a television journalist and as an anchor/reporter for the #1 rated CBS affiliate in the nation. With their incredible expertise and guidance, the students came up with a concept, developed a script, and filmed this video. Take a look and see why GLSEN Middle Tennessee is committed to making schools safe for ALL students!
Want to get connected with a GLSEN chapter in your area? Find one here.
The second annual GSA is today, February 6th, 2013!
GSA Day is a day to encourage GSAs to be visible, celebrate their successes, and raise awareness in their school about how they are an effective tool in combating hostile and unsafe learning environments for all students. Use GSA Day as a mid year reminder to students about the amazing work your club is doing at your school! Check out more resources and ideas for participation here. Are you planning on participating? Let us know in the comments below! Get connected with other GSAs around the country by participating in a LIVE Tweet chat with GLSEN, GSA Network, Campus Pride and Iowa Pride Network at 3PM PST today! Join the conversation here!
This post by Marissa was originally posted on her Tumblr.
This picture is of my principal, assistant principal, and I during No Name Calling Week.
I got my GSA to do this thing where we wore shirts with names crossed out that we dislike when used out of context, with negative connotation, or just to hurt others intentionally. We knew what had to be done in order to get our point across, but we were still pretty nervous about wearing our shirts to school. I got a lot of weird looks and a few whispers as I made my way to my first class, which was expected. But what I didn’t expect were the high fives I received after explaining to a few curious students why I was wearing the shirt. I definitely did not anticipate the hug from one of my classmates, and the genuine “Thank you” that accompanied it. More and more questions arose about why we were wearing the shirts, and where we had gotten them. I told a few kids that our sponsor helped us make them, and that she had paint in her room. Long story short: the idea caught on. By my third class, I had seen several random kids at my school who weren’t even members of the GSA wearing shirts they had made. Some had names they’d been called personally (like “Gay Bitch” and “Slut”). It completely took me by surprise, and the whole event turned out to be just...surreal. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The next day, my principal stopped me by my locker, wearing a shirt that he had made. Apparently, he asked the sponsor of our GSA about the outbreak of shirts in his hallways and decided to make one of his own, along with the assistant principal. He told me that he supported the GSA 100%, and that he was proud of me. I may or may not have broken out in tears. That’s not important. The important part is that I had just been about to completely give up trying to make this Gay-Straight Alliance work. I felt like I was letting my babies down. We had started it ourselves ...but it was going nowhere. We wanted to make a difference, but we felt like we weren’t even close to getting through to our peers. This event opened everyone’s eyes to who we are and what we are capable of. I am so glad that our hard work hasn’t been in vain and I couldn’t be prouder.
Marissa is a 17-year-old senior from Chicago, Illinois who is president of her school's GSA. She loves acting, books, and the world of musical theater.
If you heard about San Francisco 49ers player Chris Culliver's Super Bowl press conference today, you learned that he was "just kidding around" earlier this week when he made shocking homophobic comments.
The 49ers were quick to repudiate Culliver’s earlier remarks and Culliver did apologize, but perhaps the most important thing about Culliver’s story is how seriously out of step he is with current momentum in the world of sports. Consider the other following developments from only the past two weeks: GLSEN supporter and star NBA player Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets appeared alongside his two moms in a video supporting marriage equality; AOL recently released a video with US international soccer star Megan Rapinoe in support of GLSEN, No Name-Calling Week and Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project; Vancouver Canucks' goaltender Cory Schneider shared the ice with 16-year-old transman and fellow goaltender Cory Oksam for a birthday celebration the young man is unlikely to ever forget. The story was featured in the team's fan newsletter the very next day. Years of brave and trailblazing advocacy of athletes from Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis and Billy Bean to Faried, Schneiderand Rapinoe means that players like Culliver no longer have license to spout hateful thoughts at will and without comment. Now, we’re witnessing this inclusive message of sportsmanship transform school gyms and athletic fields. School coaches in places like Bethesda, Maryland are leading student-athletes to take the GLSEN’s Team Respect Challenge. And Washington’s Interscholastic Activities Association has adopted trans-inclusive policies to guide high school interscholastic sports in the entire state. GLSEN is proud to have had the support of so many of the individuals who helped bring this change about, most recently on the incredible Advisory Board for Changing the Game. And while incidents like Culliver's hurtful remarks continue to surface, we are grateful to count upon your support to affect change from the football field to the school gym. Our work remains largely undone, especially in school-based sports and physical education, but together, we can keep up the momentum to ensure schools are safe and healthy places for our youth.
Thank you so much for your support of No Name-Calling Week 2013! It is because of our partners and supporters that No Name-Calling Week has such an impact on schools, providing them with the tools to start an ongoing effort to end name-calling and bullying. Each of you have made a huge contribution to GLSEN’s anti-bullying efforts by participating. This year, educator participation has increased with 13,655 educators registered and over 18,000 fans on Facebook. With hundreds of thousands of educators visiting our website for resources, we know you are making a difference. Brock Road Elementary especially made a difference to their students by having a Spirit Week type theme for NNCW. Each day of the week was a theme dress up day reminding students of the impact of name calling and bullying. For example, on Tuesday, students wore two different shoes to remind them what it is like to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Students learned empathy for others and thought about how someone else feels when they are being disrespected. Laurel Springs School in Ojai, CA showed their support for No Name-Calling Week by hosting a variety of activities including a book club discussion centered around The Misfits by James Howe. Laurel Springs also hosted a live interactive webinar for their 6th through 12th grade students about bullying prevention. The 10th No Name-Calling Week is nearing an end today, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget the messages of respect and inclusivity for all young people. Continue building a safe school climate throughout the year with GLSEN’s resources and don’t forget to let us know how you participated!