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!
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.
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!
Guest blog post by Noel Gordon, Michigan student and former GLSEN Public Policy Intern
The Michigan Senate is poised to take a vote on legislation intended to curb school bullying and harassment. Just last week, it was reported that lawmakers laughingly refused to even consider anti-bullying protections. Elected officials, students, and advocates remained in the Capitol all night to protest this outrageous behavior. The fact that an anti-bullying bill (SB 137) is being considered at all would be reason to celebrate, especially during National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. But only if the bill in question were actually worth supporting.
Here's why: SB 45, in its current form, lacks important reporting requirements and fails to provide clear, unambiguous protections to student populations most often targeted for bullying and harassment. This includes students of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, two communities who struggles I know all too well.
A reporting requirement would be extremely helpful to capture the real experiences of LGBT students. Findings from the 2009 GLSEN National School Climate Survey revealed the kind of bullying Michigan’s LGBT students endure on a daily basis. You can read the GLSEN Michigan Research Brief here.
As a Michigan student, I am embarrassed by the fact that our legislature has yet to get a comprehensive anti-bullying bill through the legislature and to the Governor’s desk. This debate has been going on for 13 years. That’s 13 years too long for many students who continue to have their lives ruined because of our inaction.
It’s time for Michigan legislators to get serious and pass a bill that would actually address these two issues. Our state is in need of legislation that will protect students from harassment and discrimination. Michigan is one of only three states without any sort of anti-bullying law on the books.
You can learn more about what states currently have passed safer schools legislation inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity by clicking here.
Including enumerated categories of protection – such as race, class, religion, disability and sex – should be a point of consensus among Michigan senators, not contention. Comprehensive anti-bullying policies ensure that all Michigan students are protected equally in school. In fact, students in school with enumerated anti-bullying policies report less incidents of bullying and harassment overall. They also report feeling safer at school. You can read more about these findings in the 2009 GLSEN National School Climate Survey.
Michigan legislators should be doing everything they can to help make schools a safer place for all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We should be setting an example for our students, not lagging so far behind.
This isn’t a Republican issue. Nor is it a Democratic issue. It’s about education and the future success of every Michigan student, which is quite frankly, no laughing matter.
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 at GLSEN, we're always looking for the next big way to get the word out about the amazing work we do. Our newest tool is called a Spark, and it looks like this:
The Spark is an awesome way for us to highlight our work in a way that compels people to take action, which is always super important! GLSEN couldn't make such a big difference without an energized supporter base working hard across the country. This could not have come at a better time, as GLSEN is now in the running to win $1 million in the Chase American Giving Awards! Through the widget, you can watch a video where Eliza describes GLSEN's important work, follow our Twitter feed, sign up for our email list, and vote for us in the Chase American Giving Awards. There are a ton of easy ways you can help make schools safer for LGBT students by using this Spark! You can embed the player on your personal website, blog or Tumblr by clicking on the "Share" button on the Spark and copying the embed code. You can also add the Spark to your Facebook or Twitter by clicking on their respective buttons. If you haven't yet, you can always vote for GLSEN on Chase's Facebook page, and Chase card holders can vote a second time at ChaseGiving.com. This last part is super exciting: you only have to embed the Spark once to get constantly updated content from GLSEN. After the Chase Awards end, we'll be updated the Spark with new content and new calls to action on a regular basis, without you having to do a thing! Please share this cool new tool with your friends, and let's keeping working to make safe schools for ALL students in America.
GLSEN is one of 25 charities competing for a chance to win $1 million in the Chase Community Giving Awards. Our hope of winning and expanding our work to create a world in which every child learns to value and respect all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression depends on your votes! Voting is now open, so don’t waste any time helping create safe schools for all students!
- Vote! November 27 marks the first day of the competition, so make sure you vote! You can vote once on Facebook and once more at ChaseGiving.com if you are a Chase account holder. The contest ends December 4 at 11:59 p.m.
- Sign up for our mailing list: Visit glsen.org/chase to sign up. By signing up to receive emails, you can stay informed of the great work your support enables GLSEN to do. Hopefully, we’ll be able to email you on December 8 with $1 million to help make safe schools.
- Show your support on Facebook. After you vote, you can let the world know that you chose GLSEN by “liking” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GLSEN. Let you friends know you voted, and ask them to show their support as well.
- Tell your friends about the contest. Let your friends and family know that you support making school safe for all students. After you vote for GLSEN, make sure your friends know about the amazing work GLSEN could do with $1 million.
- Donate a tweet a day at http://justcoz.org/glsen. Looking for an easy way to let your followers know that you support GLSEN? Donate a tweet a day and join a network of students, educators, parents, administrators, and supporters who are working to make schools safer. Your tweets will help spread the word about ways we can all make a difference!
Thank you for your support of GLSEN!
Though Hurricane Sandy hit GLSEN’s national headquarters hard last week, we’re happy to announce that all staff and chapter leaders are safe and sound. We’re ready to get back to work making schools safer, though we aren’t able to return to the New York City office just yet. It’s not clear when the New York office will reopen, but our DC office is ready for business. That’s good news, because GLSEN will be tackling several big issues in the next few weeks, including:
- Partnering with the DC and Baltimore public schools in support of the well-being and success of LGBT youth of color;
- Training members of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on LGBT issues and gender nonconformity in grades K-5; and
- Furthering LGBT curricular inclusion with a presentation at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies.
The response to the hurricane has been touching, and we are truly grateful for the overwhelming show of support. Not only from our friends at the Ad Council, who kindly offered us workspace in Manhattan, but also from countless friends of GLSEN reached out through email and social networking sites to express support. Here’s a selection of your tweets wishing us well. Thanks again for your support; it truly makes our work possible.
Check out a featured poem from the “What Does the Day of Silence Mean to You?” call for submissions. This poem was submitted by Ilana K. of Rockville, MD.
I have never stopped talking Not even for one second Even when I am silent I am speaking so many words So one day a year my silence speaks more Than I ever could out loud My silence speaks for those who do stop talking Those who are forced to stop talking By a world that can’t accept them for who they are Or who they love Some people who have so much to say Can’t find the voice to say it Not because they don’t want to But because other people won’t let them Why is it that in this time With a black president Two women can’t get married in 42 states Transgender individuals can get fired People are discriminated against For things they can’t change They can’t make the change if they can’t find their voice And they can’t find their voice if people won’t let them Even if they find their voice There is no change that will happen Unless people are willing to listen So because I can’t stop talking I put away my voice for a day To bring attention to all the people Who are forced into the silence Not necessarily because they don’t have anything to say But because people won’t listen People won’t listen Thanks for your submission, Ilana! Have last minute planning to do for the Day of Silence? Visit our resources here, and have an awesome day tomorrow! Please note, the views expressed in the submission are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by GLSEN.
The Day of Silence is tomorrow, April 20th, be prepared!
Being a student and an organizer can be a lot! Frequently we hear from organizers who have been planning for the Day of Silence for weeks only to find themselves unprepared on the morning of their event. So, take the time this afternoon/evening to double check your to-do list with your advisor and/or fellow organizers. Make sure you haven’t put anything off until the last minute because once you get to school you will want to be able to hit the ground running in order to make the biggest impact. Here are some things to remember as you finalize your arrangements for your Day of Silence event:
- LIST: Make a to-do list of final tasks and think of people who could take on some of those tasks for you. Get started with the items on this list!
- REGISTER: If you haven’t already, be sure to CLICK HERE to register your participation in the Day of Silence and be counted among the hundreds of thousands of other students nationwide participating in the Day of Silence.
- CONNECT: The night before your event call, email or text all of the people helping you organize to make sure everyone is on the same page. Also make sure to stay connected on social media, like facebook and Twitter!
- PRINT: Be sure you have all the materials you need, and extras to hand out, such as:Speaking Cards, Lambda Legal: Freedom to Speak (Or Not) 2012, ACLU: Letter to Principal or Educator, Stickers, and cut, fold, or label these materials as needed.
- GATHER: Get all Day of Silence items and materials in one place to ensure that they are clean and organized (shirts, buttons, stickers, pamphlets, speaking cards, posters, etc.)
- CHARGE: You want to take pictures, right? Text? Tweet? Make sure your camera, phone and computer batteries are all charged up and ready to go in the morning!
- DOUBLE CHECK your to-do list: It never hurts to be extra careful!
- REST: You’re gonna need it for your exciting day of taking action!
Ready, set, go!