March 17, 2010

>Cross-posted at blog.dayofsilence.org

In yet another hopeful sign for the future, nearly two-thirds (65%) of college freshmen support same-sex marriage, according to new data released by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Over all, 65 percent of the college freshmen surveyed last fall supported same-sex marriage, compared with 58 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old and 39 percent of the population nationwide, according to the Pew research groups' study.

Support for gay marriage has increased generally in the past decade. In 2000, 56 percent of entering college students backed it. Four years later, freshmen were 57 percent supportive at the time they enrolled, and by graduation, 69 percent of that entering class supported gay marriage, according to the UCLA research institute.

While a number of factors probably contribute, the rise of Gay-Straight Alliances over that time (more than 4,000 are registered with GLSEN today compared to 1,000 in 2001) has almost certainly had an impact.

The National Day of Silence is perhaps even more important. Hundreds of thousands of students coming together every year across the country to raise awareness of anti-LGBT bullying has almost certainly led more people to the belief that every person deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect.

This year's Day of Silence is less than a month away. Join us on April 16 as students help spread a message of respect for all. Be a fan of the official Day of Silence Facebook page for updates on how you can show your support, even if you're not in school.

What are you going to do to end the silence?

March 17, 2010

>Cross-posted at blog.glsen.org

In yet another hopeful sign for the future, nearly two-thirds (65%) of college freshmen support same-sex marriage, according to new data released by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Over all, 65 percent of the college freshmen surveyed last fall supported same-sex marriage, compared with 58 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old and 39 percent of the population nationwide, according to the Pew research groups' study.

Support for gay marriage has increased generally in the past decade. In 2000, 56 percent of entering college students backed it. Four years later, freshmen were 57 percent supportive at the time they enrolled, and by graduation, 69 percent of that entering class supported gay marriage, according to the UCLA research institute.

While a number of factors probably contribute, the rise of Gay-Straight Alliances over that time (more than 4,000 are registered with GLSEN today compared to 1,000 in 2001) has almost certainly had an impact.

The National Day of Silence is perhaps even more important. Hundreds of thousands of students coming together every year across the country to raise awareness of anti-LGBT bullying has almost certainly led more people to the belief that every person deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect.

This year's Day of Silence is less than a month away. Join us on April 16 as students help spread a message of respect for all. Be a fan of the official Day of Silence Facebook page for updates on how you can show your support, even if you're not in school.

What are you going to do to end the silence?

March 15, 2010

>Week 5 (March 15-19): Holding Your Meeting

It’s time to get the ball rolling! Plan a meeting with your DOS Team. This could be your GSA or student club, or a group of interested students and your sponsoring faculty member.

  • Be prepared: Make an agenda so that your meeting goes smoothly and you accomplish everything necessary to take the next steps. And print out some of the materials referenced in the list below to pass out to the Team members.
  • Brainstorm: What will your event look like? Who will be involved? Will you have a Breaking the Silence event? Discuss all the possibilities for your DOS event. And be creative! Check out DOS on Facebook to see what other students are planning.
  • Decisions: There are a lot of ways to hold a successful Day of Silence, but you can’t do them all! Involve your team in the decision-making process to assure their support as you organize the event.
  • Set Goals: Goals are a great way to determine if your organizing is on the right track. How many people do you want to take a vow of silence? How many cards do you want to pass out? How many people do you want to attend your Breaking the Silence event?
  • Delegate: No one person should do all the work alone. Split up the tasks to make the work easier and to get more people involved.
  • Register: Make sure ALL the members of your team register for DOS.
  • And don’t forget to schedule a Team meeting for next week!


If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

March 08, 2010

>


The Day of Silence is coming up quickly! Each week we will posting helpful organizing tips to help you plan and coordinate your Day of Silence activities.

Week 6 (March 8-12): Getting Started


We recommend you start planning for your Day of Silence at least six weeks before the event if you haven’t already. For this week focus on laying the groundwork for your organizing.

  • Register: Go to www.dayofsilence.org and register your participation in the Day of Silence. If you're already registered, make sure to update your address on www.studentorganizing.org so we
    Publish Post
    can send you free DOS products.

  • Gather Information: Find resources to help you start your planning on www.dayofsilence.org.

  • Find Support: Discuss your participation with the advisor of your GSA or student club, or another trusted faculty member. It’s a good idea to print out resources from www.dayofsilence.org to give to potential supportive faculty.

  • Get Permission: Your Day of Silence is likely to be more successful if the school approves of your activities. Research and follow the proper protocol for approving an activity at your school. Ask your supportive staff member to help.

  • Build a Team: Find peers who want to contribute. Talk to members of your GSA and/or other allies. Tell them about the Day of Silence and ask if they would be interested in getting involved. Make sure to check out the resources about building coalitions at www.dayofsilence.org.

  • Schedule for next week: Make sure to schedule a Team meeting with your supportive faculty member and interested students for the upcoming week to keep making progress!

If you have any questions or ideas, or if you want to tell us what you’re planning for your Day of Silence please email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

And don't forget to join the conversation on the Day of Silence Facebook Page and @DayofSilence on Twitter.

Best of luck, and happy organizing!

February 12, 2010

>

From any angle, February 12th is the anniversary of two lives' destruction by homophobia and the inability of the two boys' families, school and relevant social service agencies to deal effectively with the escalating conflict between them. Experts on bullying agree that any bullying situation involves two young people who need help--the target and the perpetrator. Both Brandon and Larry had already led difficult lives, and needed something more than their communities were able to give them.

Read more here from GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard.

February 09, 2010

>Friday marks the two-year anniversary of the tragic shooting of Lawrence "Larry" King, a 15-year-old eighth-grader from E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif., who was killed by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

Vigils to remember Larry King and bring attention to the need to address anti-LGBT violence in schools will take place across the country. To find one in your area or to register a vigil or event, visit http://www.rememberinglawrence.org.

Here's a look back at some celebrity PSAs done to remember Larry and raise awareness.

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February 09, 2010

>Cross-posted at blog.glsen.org.

Friday marks the two-year anniversary of the tragic shooting of Lawrence "Larry" King, a 15-year-old eighth-grader from E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif., who was killed by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

Vigils to remember Larry King and bring attention to the need to address anti-LGBT violence in schools will take place across the country. To find one in your area or to register a vigil or event, visit http://www.rememberinglawrence.org/.

Here's a look back at some celebrity PSAs done to remember Larry and raise awareness.

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February 08, 2010

>Two Iowa Republican state legislators have introduced a bill that would remove sexual orientation and gender identity/expression from a list of enumerated categories already listed in the state's anti-bullying law.

The reason, beyond wanting to see LGBT students bullied? To use children as pawns.

Schultz told NBC affiliate WHO-TV that the rationale behind the move is to force a vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, since the Iowa Supreme Court pointed to laws like Iowa’s Safe Schools Law in making its April decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

Iowa Pride Network Executive Director Ryan Roemerman summed it up well.

“When our state is facing record budget deficits and unemployment, House Republicans feel their time is best spent picking on Iowa’s LGBT youth.”

Iowa Pride Network also recently released its 2009 Iowa School Climate Survey, which found that more than 3 out of 4 Iowa LGBT students had been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation.

February 05, 2010

>Last week, U.S. Representative Jared Polis and 60 bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), a bill that would institute protections in public schools against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Federal law already prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of race, nationality, gender, religion and disability, and it's great that Solis and other members of Congress understand the need to extend these statutes. As GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey revealed, nearly 9 in 10 LGBT middle and high school students have faced some form of bullying or harassment--whether verbal or physical--in school. Passing and enacting SNDA is a huge step forward in combating these alarming figures.

SNDA has already seen wide support from an array of professional and advocacy organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and the School Social Work Association (not to mention GLSEN!). Recently, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) threw its support behind SNDA, citing the detrimental effects that bullying and harassment can have on students' emotional well-being and academic performance. As NAASP's Executive Director, Gerald N. Tirozzi, stated:

A safe and secure learning environment is vital to the educational success of all students...This legislation will enhance the ability of teachers and administrators to deliver a valuable education in public schools that are free of bullying, harassment and other forms of harmful discrimination.

It's great to see that national education organizations such as NASSP recognize the need to protect and best serve all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Be sure to stay tuned to the GLSEN Blog--we'll be providing updates about SNDA as the bill moves forward in Congress!

February 05, 2010

>Rep. Jared Polis introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act last week to protect students from discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Chris Johnson from DC Agenda, whose staff comprises much of the former Washington Blade reporters and editors, wrote a nice article about the bill, including some good news from the White House.

The White House also expressed support for the legislation in response to a query from DC Agenda.

“The president believes that every child should learn in a safe and secure school environment,” said Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson.

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