LGBTQ CIVIL RIGHTS: STUDENT RESOURCES

1. Know Your Rights!  A Quick Guide for LGBT High School Students:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/know-your-rights-quick-guide-lgbt-high-school-students

2.  Letter to School Officials Regarding Gay Straight Alliances:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/letter-school-officials-regarding-gaystraight-alliances

3.  Letter to Educators about the Day of Silence:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/letter-educators-about-day-silence

4.  Letter to School Officials about Addressing Anti-LGBT Bullying:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/letter-school-officials-about-addressing-anti-lgbt-bullying

5.  A Model Anti-Harassment Policy for Schools:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/model-policy-schools

            see also:  http://www.glsen.org/binary-data/GLSEN_ATTACHMENTS/file/000/001/1713-3.pdf

6.  Letter Urging Adoption of Safe Schools Policies:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/letter-urging-adoption-safe-schools-policies

7.  Letter to Principals and School Educators about School Censorship:  http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/letter-principals-and-educators-about-school-censorship

8.  Prom Resources for LGBT Students:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/prom-resources-lgbt-students

9.  US Dept. of Education “Dear Colleague” Letter on Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs and the Equal Access Act:  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/110607.html

10.  How to File a Bullying, Harassment, or Discrimination Report with the Office of Civil Rights:  http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2639.html

11.  Letter to School Officials Regarding LGBT Student Privacy:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/letter-school-officials-regarding-lgbt-student-privacy

12.  Letter to School Officials Regarding Web Filtering:  http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/letter-school-officials-regarding-web-filtering

13.  Identity Documents: Transgender Rigths Toolkit: A Legal Guide for Trans People and Their Advocates: http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/trt_transgender_id

14.  Fighting Anti-Trans Violence:  Transgender Rights Toolkit:  http://www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/publications/downloads/trt_transgender_violence.pdf

Free app for Georgia teens and their sexual health 

Gay-Straight Alliances

What is a Gay-Straight Alliance?

Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student-led clubs that provide a safe and affirming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students and their heterosexual allies. They are like any other school club: they hold meetings, have faculty sponsors, engage in fundraising activities, plan events and are open to all students on campus.

Quick Facts about GSAs:

Gay-Straight Alliances are protected under the Equal Access Act of 1984 which states that if a school allows one non-curricular club, it must allow all others.

  • According to GLSEN*:
    • The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT students by sending a message that biased language and harassment will not be tolerated.
    • Having a GSA may also make schools more accessible to LGBT students by contributing to a more positive school environment.
    • GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff, which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic achievements and experiences in school.
    • Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.
  • Research conducted by GLSEN* also shows that:
    • Students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” in school on a daily basis than students without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).
    • LGBT students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26%) of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32%) of students at schools without GSAs.
    • Students in schools with a GSA are more likely to report that school faculty, staff and administrators are supportive of lesbian, gay and bisexual students (52% compared to 32%).

Retrieved August 11, 2009 from: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2216.html

*Findings reprinted with permission from GLSEN

 

10 Steps for Starting a GSA

Derived from www.gsanetwork.org

1. Follow Guidelines:
Establish a GSA the same way you would establish any other group or club. Look in your Student Handbook for the rules at your school. This may include getting permission from an administrator, finding an advisor, and/or writing a constitution.

2. Find a Faculty Advisor:
Find a teacher or staff member whom you think would be supportive or who has already shown themselves to be an ally around sexual orientation issues. It could be a teacher, counselor, nurse, or librarian.

3. Inform Administration of Your Plans:
Tell administrators what you are doing right away. It can be very helpful to have an administrator on your side. They can work as liaisons on your behalf with other teachers, parent groups, community members, and the school board. If an administrator is resistant to the GSA, let them know that forming a GSA club is protected under the Federal Equal Access Act.

4. Inform Guidance Counselors and Social Workers About The Group:
These individuals may know students who would be interested in attending the group.

5. Pick a Meeting Place:
You may want to find a meeting place which is off the beaten track at school and offers some level of privacy or confidentiality.

6. Advertise:
Figure out the best way to advertise at your school. It may be a combination of school bulletin announcements, flyers, and word-of-mouth. If your flyers are defaced or torn down, do not be discouraged. Keep putting them back up. Eventually, whoever is tearing them down will give up.
Besides, advertising for your group and having words up such as “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning” or “end homophobia” or “discuss sexual orientation” can be part of educating the school and can actually make other students feel safer — even if they never attend a single meeting.

7. Get Food:
This one is kind of obvious. People always come to meetings when you provide food!

8. Hold Your Meeting!
You may want to start out with a discussion about why people feel having this group is important. You can also brainstorm things your club would like to do this year.

9. Establish Ground Rules:
Many groups have ground rules in order to insure that group discussions are safe, confidential, and respectful. Many groups have a ground rule that no assumptions or labels are used about a group member’s sexual orientation. This can help make straight allies feel comfortable about attending the club.

10. Plan For The Future:
Develop an action plan. Brainstorm activities. Set goals for what you want to work towards. Contact Gay-Straight Alliance Network in order to get connected to all of the other GSAs, get supported, and learn about what else is going on in the community.