December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

December 31, 2014

>Still more stories being shared over at facebook - and I become more and more inspired by all those who are participating and supporting:

I actually did this last year before and it brought back some bad memories. For the simple fact that I wasn't speaking, people judged me, pushed me around. I didn't have a single defense for myself. My actions could not help when nobody was looking at me. To quote a book title, "I have no mouth and I must scream." It was how I felt that day. Now, I must put myself through it again to feel the pain that people go through every single day. I may be straight, but I love all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. It's so sad that people treat others as if they are nothing. I hope we all can stand up with our arms braced and get through this.

Aaron F.

January 05, 2015

My name is Ximena. In less than six months I will graduate high school, and in the fall I will attend Columbia University as a Political Science major. I hope to use my education to continue protecting students from bullying and harassment. I feel that I am on the brink of something big – my future is full of possibility! But to be honest, I have not always felt this way. 

While my high school was far from a cesspool of homophobia, the apathy of staff and students was palpable. As the only out lesbian in my school, I was often the brunt of jokes. During my freshman year, some classmates called me “Latina lesbian,” targeting both my ethnic identity and my sexual orientation. Worst of all, no one came to my defense. I felt really alone and marginalized.

This is when I found my local GLSEN chapter. I attended my first GLSEN event and was surprised by the accepting environment. It was the first time in my life that I felt comfortable talking openly about my sexual orientation and how it intersects with my Mexican culture. I was so inspired by the people I met, many of whom became my role models. Like me, they experienced challenges in schools and they overcame them. I realized that in order to achieve my dreams, I needed to take action to improve my school – for me and for everyone.

Shortly after that event, I started a Gay-Straight Alliance in my school using GLSEN’s resources. Pretty soon I started to see teachers participating in GLSEN days of action or using safe space materials in the classroom, and I started to feel more supported. I now know that any person that supports GLSEN will not turn a blind eye to homophobia or transphobia. My goals of higher education would not have been realized without the support and acceptance provided to me by teachers, friends, peers and especially GLSEN. By this time next year, I will be taking my first college mid-terms – an idea that scares me but also makes me feel grateful.

There is still much work to be done. Many students don’t have GSAs or supportive adults in their schools, and many still feel afraid to be themselves. Please donate to GLSEN so that we can expand our reach to new communities. Know that your donation will enable chapters across the country to continue creating safe spaces in schools, which allow students like me to thrive and to reach their full potential.

Sincerely #GLSENproud,

Ximena

December 12, 2014

Hey, GSAs: It's time to show your GLSEN spirit by participating in a GSA Challenge! Here's what you need to know about GSA Challenges. 

  • GSA Challenges will be announced periodically throughout the school year, giving you a chance to do cool stuff with your GSA in exchange for cool stuff from us.
  • Why participate? GSA Challenges help us stay in touch with you and see what your GSA is up to! Plus...
  • ...as a bonus, after each challenge, we'll randomly choose a few GSAs to win awesome prizes. 
  • To participate and enter your GSA into the drawing, complete the challenge and share a picture of it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #GLSENproud. 
  • Only registered GSAs are eligible to win. Don’t know if your GSA is registered? Register now to make sure you’re eligible

Ready for your first challenge? 

THE CHALLENGE: Take the biggest, awesomest GSA group picture you can in front of your school. 

  • Include as many GSA members as you can. 
  • Gather all the GLSEN stuff you can find -- shirts, stickers, posters, Day of Silence armbands, you name it! 
  • Pose in front of a sign that shows the name of your school. 

THE WINNINGS: 5 registered GSAs will get a pizza party on us! 

THE DEADLINE: The challenge runs until Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 11:59pm ET. We'll hold the drawing and notify the winning GSAs on Wednesday! 

Time to show us what your GSA's got! Good luck! 

 

November 19, 2014

This year will be my first participating in Transgender Awareness Week.  As co-president of my QSA, it will be my responsibility to educate my school community on transgender identities.  This also means I must communicate the need for Transgender Awareness Week: why is visibility important? Why is it important to build trans awareness across communities this week?

I have tried to look to my own experience to begin to answer these questions. Growing up as a gender nonconforming youth, I often faced societal resistance that I didn't quite understand.  Incidents of confrontation and bullying by various adults and my peers followed me throughout my childhood to the point that I felt uncomfortable in my body, my clothes, and everything expected of me due to my sex.  I found myself thrown headfirst into a strictly gendered society whose norms I couldn't quite fit, and by the time I reached high school, I was too scared and confused to explore further into my gender nonconformity. 

10th grade was a catalyst for change in my life.  I began identifying as queer and I set out to educate myself; it was at this point that I learned about the trans community.  Seeing people with experiences similar to my own was liberating and finally led me begin exploring my gender identity.  I spent nights pouring over personal stories, articles about the gender binary, and anything related to queer studies.  My mental health and overall happiness improved drastically, and I was able to reach out to a community that was truly supportive of my identity and experiences.  I sometimes imagine how different my childhood would have been if I had been exposed to trans narratives earlier in my life. I could have perhaps avoided years of anxiety and depression.  I might have been confident in my appearance, my choices, and myself.  Things would have undeniably been better. 

While these past events cannot be changed, moving forward as people who have succeeded in a cisnormative society we can turn back and begin to deconstruct the obstacles we have faced (and continue to face). With our knowledge and understanding of issues specific to our community, we can and must begin to create an environment of support and awareness for the ourselves and for the next trans generation. 

The bottom line is that trans youth need to be able to see themselves.  They need the resources to understand how they feel, explore their identities, and find others like them.   Trans youth should not grow up believing that they are sick or broken or alone.  Transgender Awareness Week is a vital platform for jump-starting the type of education and change that will make it possible for transgender and gender nonconforming people to find the resources and support that they need.

 

*Sarah is a member of GLSEN's Transgender Student Rights Advisory Committee.

Transgender Awareness Week is an opportunity for students, educators and community members to increase visibility of the transgender community and to raise awareness of the experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming students, who often face hostile school environments. Click here to learn more and take action! 

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