Posted by: outandequal | September 7, 2011

Heading back to school with resources for LGBT youth and families

Justin Tanis

Justin Tanis, Director of Communications

by Justin Tanis | Whether you have children at school or want to learn how to help LGBT students, here are some resources for the back to school season! Consider what you can do to help make this year a safe, educational and exciting year for LGBT young people and children of LGBT parents.

The Family Equality Council, an organization dedicated to LGBT-headed families, has a great Back to School Tool for LGBT parents and their children. It includes practical tips for speaking to your children’s teachers about your family, how to advocate for change at different grade levels, and much more.

GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) has a Back to School Guide for Creating LGBT Inclusive Environments for teachers and administrators working within schools.

They also have Safe Space Kits to be used in schools. If you’d like to make a donation to send a kit to a school you attended, or let GLSEN send one to a school in need of one, you can visit their website: http://safespace.glsen.org/ The kits provide an extensive guide about how to be an ally to LGBT students, along with stickers and posters to designate safe spaces for LGBT youth within the school. Their goal is to be able to provide a kit to every middle and high school in the country. Imagine the difference it would make!

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a national leader in combatting prejudice of all forms, conducts an amazing program called Teaching Tolerance.

Among their resources is Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History, a film about a gay student who was repeatedly subjected to physical and verbal violence at school. Officials did nothing to stop it despite his and his parent’s pleas, so he filed a federal lawsuit that ultimately held the school accountable for their inaction. The movie is a compelling look at bullying as well as the courage of those willing to stand up against it. They also provide a discussion guide and other resources to accompany the film.

Live Out Loud, an organization that seeks to empower LGBT youth, sponsors The Homecoming Project, which encourages LGBT adults to return to their high schools to speak with current students; their website includes ideas, lesson plans, and videos of those who have made the journey back.

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