March 21, 2010

>Great quote from Ewan McGregor regarding his new movie with Jim Carrey, I Love You Phillip Morris. McGregor and Carrey portray two men falling in love.

It is a reflection I guess on where we’re at that it’s such a big deal that it’s a love story between two gay men, like the idea of two men being in love is slightly shocking or almost taboo, it’s beyond me.
March 19, 2010

>As you may know, Constance is headed to DC this weekend to attend GLSEN's Safe Schools Advocacy Summit, where she'll meet with Student Non-Discrimination Act sponsor Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado.

Our friends at the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT Project (ACLU is representing Constance in her case to have prom reinstated) have set up a weekend action for people to show their support for Constance and the other students and community leaders attending SSAS.

March 19, 2010

>An appeals court in California recently ruled on a case of cyberbullying between private high school students, finding that the anti-gay sentiments and death threats that a group of students posted on a classmate's website were not protected by the First Amendment.

While the 15-year-old victim identifies as straight, six of his fellow students at Harvard-Westlake--an elite private high school in Los Angeles--targeted him for his perceived sexual orientation and proclaimed him a target, "wanted dead or alive." If that's supposed to be some sort of a joke, we're not laughing.

The student's parents pulled him out of school and moved to Northern California to protect their son, and filed a lawsuit against the bullies and their parents for violating their child's civil rights. While the defendants sought to qualify the comments as constitutionally protected under free speech rights, the appeals court ruled that the threats did not merit this protection. In other words, the original case against the bullies' families can move forward.

Hopefully, this case will serve as a reminder that any student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, can be hurt by anti-LGBT harassment--and that such bigotry and intolerance won't come without consequences. Do you think the courts were correct, in recognizing and upholding the difference between free speech and hate speech?

March 19, 2010

>Check out Constance on Ellen today. Thank you to the amazing folks at www.tonic.com who presented Constance with a $30,000 college scholarship on the show via Ellen.

The site is about hope, and we can't help but be a little hopeful about the future after seeing all the positive reaction to Constance's case. The ACLU, which is representing Consance, has a good rundown of all the happenings to date.

Can't wait to meet Constance tomorrow at GLSEN's Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. Check out our Twitter page for updates throughout the day. And show your support for Constance on Facebook here.

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March 18, 2010

>We at GLSEN get a lot of questions about Day of Silence. Each week leading up to DOS we'll post the answer to a common question about organizing and participating in a Day of Silence event.

I want to do Day of Silence at my school. Should I talk to teachers or the principal beforehand? How do I get permission from my school?

We recommend that students, GSAs and other student groups try to work with their school to obtain the proper permission to hold Day of Silence activities. Participation supported by the school has more impact and makes for a more fun Day of Silence for everyone. Talk early with your school’s administration. Offer the organizing materials from www.dayofsilence.org so they know more about the event. Provide them with your group’s ideas or plan for DOS. This can go a long way to assuring a fun and effective Day of Silence!

If you have a question about the Day of Silence email us at info@dayofsilence.org.

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.

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