October 27, 2009

>Autumn Sandeen has a great blog post at Pam's House Blend about an article in the November issue of Seventeen Magazine, "My Boyfriend Turned Out to be a Girl."

While transphobia obviously is nothing new in the media, it is rather shocking to see such a blantant example in the decision to publish this article without any perspective of what it is like to be a transgender youth. As Autumn points out, via GLSEN's research report on the experiences of trangender students in school, Harsh Realities:

  • Two-thirds of transgender students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation (69%) and how they expressed their gender (65%).
  • Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (87%).
  • More than half of all transgender students had been physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (55%) and gender
    expression (53%).
  • More than a quarter of transgender students had been physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (28%) and gender expression (26%).
  • Most transgender students (54%) who were victimized in school did not report the events to school authorities. Among those who did report incidents to school personnel, few students (33%) believed that staff addressed the situation effectively.

Seventeen has previously written positively about the Day of Silence and written an article about a former GLSEN national student leader, but after this article it's hard to defend the publication's record on LGBT youth unless they try to make things right and publish a story about the issues and harassment facing transgender youth (with a positive portrayal of a trans youth, of course).

Short of that, even an apology isn't good enough.

A Facebook group has started to encourage a letter writing campaing. Go join and tell your friends.

Queerty also has a good blog post.

October 22, 2009

>UPDATE: Thanks to all who tweeted. The contest has concluded. Hope you had a fantastic Ally Week!

This year, ALLY Week has been awesome. We have read many stories from school wide events to students tabling at lunch, from GSAs wearing all yellow to organizations honoring local allies.

Now we want to continue the outreach online over the next day and a half with our ALLY WEEK Tweeting Contest. Lets see who can tweet the most about Ally Week! Get a point for each tweet you post about Ally Week, it must include #allyweek. The contest will run until midnight PST (3am EST) Friday. Only 5 Winners will get an Ally week T-shirt, wristband, and a copy of Brother Outsider.

Here are the rules!

1. Tweets of only #allyweek will only be accepted once an hour
Ex: dayofsilence: #allyweek #allyweek #allyweek = 1PT

2. Points are for tweets containing #allyweek, not the number of times you mention Ally Week within your tweets.
Ex. dayofsilence: OMG I just got 47 more pledges for Ally Week! Ally Week is so great, I love Ally Week! #allyweek = 1PT

3. Tweets must be ABOUT ally week:
Doesn’t count: dayofsilence: It’s gloomy outside and looks like it might rain, and I’m worried soccer practice will be cancelled #allyweek. = 0PT
Counts: dayofsilence: It’s gloomy outside and looks like it might rain, and I’m worried that our #allyweek activity will be cancelled. = 1PT

4. You can retweet another’s Ally Week post only once.

CONTEST STARTS NOW!!!

October 22, 2009

>Cross-posted from blog.glsen.org:

This year, ALLY Week has been awesome. We have read many stories from school wide events to students tabling at lunch, from GSAs wearing all yellow to organizations honoring local allies.

Now we want to continue the outreach online over the next day and a half with our ALLY WEEK Tweeting Contest. Lets see who can tweet the most about Ally Week! Get a point for each tweet you post about Ally Week, it must include #allyweek. The contest will run until midnight PST (3am EST) Friday. Only 5 Winners will get an Ally week T-shirt, wristband, and a copy of Brother Outsider.

Here are the rules!

1. Tweets of only #allyweek will only be accepted once an hour
Ex: dayofsilence: #allyweek #allyweek #allyweek = 1PT

2. Points are for tweets containing #allyweek, not the number of times you mention Ally Week within your tweets.
Ex. dayofsilence: OMG I just got 47 more pledges for Ally Week! Ally Week is so great, I love Ally Week! #allyweek = 1PT

3. Tweets must be ABOUT ally week:
Doesn’t count: dayofsilence: It’s gloomy outside and looks like it might rain, and I’m worried soccer practice will be cancelled #allyweek. = 0PT
Counts: dayofsilence: It’s gloomy outside and looks like it might rain, and I’m worried that our #allyweek activity will be cancelled. = 1PT

4. You can retweet another’s Ally Week post only once.

CONTEST STARTS NOW!!!

October 20, 2009

>We at GLSEN love to hear about the organizing you’re doing to make schools safer and to end anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. Organizers use Ally Week to identify Allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment. Jenna, a high school senior and GSA President from Hastings, Minn., sent us an email telling us why Ally Week is so important to her. Even though she says there’s a lot of intolerance at her school, during Ally Week she’s able to find new Allies:

“I get so much support from others students, people I don’t even know. It’s amazing what you can do with just some t-shirts and posters. I’m sad that it’s my last year in high school, but maybe I can come back during Ally Week next year and help out.”

What are you doing for Ally Week? Send us an email at info@allyweek.org with your Ally Week stories and your story could be featured on this blog.

October 20, 2009

>UPDATE: Video doesn't seem to be working. Try this link:

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October 19, 2009

>http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2479.html

From the GLSEN press release:

Thousands of students across the country this week are pledging to address anti-gay bullying as part of GLSEN’s fifth annual Ally Week, a week of activities designed to encourage people to be allies against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) name-calling, bullying and harassment at school.

Ally Week, which was created by students as a way to encourage and support allies, is often organized by the more than 4,000 Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs registered with GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education network.

Also, here's a clip of GLSEN Student Ambassador Lazaro Cardenas at the GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles on Oct. 9 talking about why he's an ally.

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You can sign the official Ally Week pledge here to be an Ally against anti-LGBT bullying.

October 16, 2009

>A message for GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard:

GLSEN’s already historic PSA campaign will make history once again tonight. One of our groundbreaking commercials, featuring Hilary Duff, will air during the season premiere of Ugly Betty on ABC-TV.

This is an exciting and important showcase for GLSEN’s message. Millions will be watching tonight. I hope that you will make it a few more, by watching our ad tonight during Ugly Betty between 8:00-10:00 pm (Eastern/Pacific) or 7:00-9:00 (Central).

What is the ThinkB4YouSpeak Campaign? Last year, GLSEN partnered with the Ad Council to develop a powerful PSA campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools.

The Ad Council is known for timely and effective public service messages like their famous Smokey the Bear campaign and the well-known “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” commercials. The goal of ThinkB4YouSpeak is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults – including school personnel and parents – whose support of this message is crucial its success.

Be Sure to Watch the ThinkB4YouSpeak PSA on Ugly Betty Tonight!

So, if you’re a fan of Ugly Betty, you probably know that the character “Justin,” Betty’s nephew, is exploring the challenges of being a teen. Now that he’s in high school, we’ll see how Justin copes with his emotions, fears and relationships, both at school and at home. Countless “Justins” from schools across the country will tune in to Ugly Betty tonight and know that you and I – and the entire GLSEN community – are on their side.

October 16, 2009

>As we celebrate the year anniversary of the launch of the GLSEN/Ad Council PSA campaign, Think Before You Speak, let's take a look at how some students used the materials to create their own in-school campaign. GLSEN's organizational video about our work to raise awareness of anti-LGBT behavior highlights the campaign and the efforts of the members of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Chillicothe (Ohio) High School:

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October 15, 2009

>Guest post from Bryan Pacheco, GLSEN's Public Ally in our Community Initiatives Department:

Today is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. The purpose of this month is to reflect and honor the contributions of the larger Hispanic community in the United States. GLBT History Month is also during October. This should get us thinking: how do Hispanic and Latino/a identities intersect with LGBT identities?

Hispanic and Latino/a LGBT people have made immense contributions to the LGBT movement. One individual who comes to mind is Sylvia Rivera, who was a Venezuelan and Puerto Rican trans woman who grew up homeless. Sylvia participated in what is often seen as the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement - the Stonewall Riots of 1969 - and among other things, dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of homeless youth in Hispanic and LGBT communities. Her identities and experiences became the framework for what she would devote her life to.

All of our identities are constantly intersecting, and can inspire our work and life focus, as it did for Sylvia. For instance, maybe you are a student and LGBT, and those identities, and the experiences that you have because of them, inspire you to lead a GSA in your school. You can't separate the two identities and nor should you.

We should celebrate the intersection of Hispanic Heritage Month and GLBT History month by seeing how our identities complement one another. Let’s not honor the events separately. Let’s honor them together and see how each can make the other more powerful.

October 14, 2009

>Dear GLSEN friends and colleagues:

I imagine that you are aware of recent coverage of renewed attacks on GLSEN’s founder, Kevin Jennings, now serving as the Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

For the most part, coverage of these attacks has focused on the ongoing battle between conservative activists and the Obama administration. I want you all to be aware of another critical aspect of this story, one that has not received sufficient public attention, but that has been very important to me as we monitor the situation.

As old news has been recycled into current controversy, those who actually know Kevin and GLSEN and understand the nature and purpose of our work have risen to Kevin’s defense, speaking out about the importance and positive impact of our efforts on behalf of American students.

Public statements from some of our long-time partners in the education world can be found via these links:

  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • Learning First Alliance
  • National Education Association
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • Social Workers Association of America
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • In the midst of all of this, I take heart in the fact that we are making a positive difference in the lives of young people everywhere – and that anyone who actually knows our work and cares about this nation’s schools is well aware of that fact. At GLSEN we are focused on making a difference for young people, contributing to better educational outcomes and to realizing our vision of a better future for all students.

    I thank you so much for your support, both now and throughout GLSEN’s history.

    Best,

    Eliza

    Eliza Byard, PhD
    Executive Director

    P.S.
    Should you have any questions about the specific attacks against Kevin, Media Matters for America has been factually reporting the story, checking the facts and posting them as the right-wing attacks shift from one inaccurate charge to another. For crucial information regarding the truth, visit: Media Matters

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