>Maddie Smith, 14, will be given the Queer Youth Leadership Award this Saturday at the Santa Cruz County Task Force awards ceremony.
Smith, who is an out bisexual eighth-grader, is an outspoken member of her school's Gay Straight Alliance and has worked to educate teachers and staff about bullying of queer youth. Before the November election, she wore anti-Proposition 8 T-shirts to school every day.
- Students, allies heralded for raising awareness of gay youth (The Mercury News: Central Coast)
Not only do they try to get people to stop using ‘gay’ as a synonym for anything that sucks, but they do it in a playful and humourous way...I think it’s great that a superstar actress like (as far as we know) heterosexual Hilary Duff, who has a lot of admiration and respect amongst the youth of today, to contribute her celebrity to be a part of this.
We agree. If you haven't seen the ads yet. Check them out at www.thinkb4youspeak.com.
- That's So Gay (Homorazzi)
>GLSEN is excited to announce that a federal anti-bullying bill – the Safe Schools Improvement Act – was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 5 by California Rep. Linda Sanchez.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act will require schools that receive funding from the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to implement an anti-bullying policy that protects students from bullying and harassment and includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other categories.
Now the hard work begins and we need your help. The bill had 35 cosponsors upon introductioin, and we’d like to see that number increase.
Please consider reaching out to your Representative and ask her or him to become a cosponsor of the Safe Schools Improvement Act. For more information about how to contact your Representative and a list of current and past cosponsors, CLICK HERE.
The bill’s introduction came less than a month after the tragic suicides of a fifth and sixth grader in part because of anti-LGBT bullying. Bullying of all kinds has to stop, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act is a crucial step in making schools safer for all students.
Thank you for your support!
>Students at Kennewick High School in Washington have asked to get a GSA in place, but were told it wouldn't be well received. A supportive school board member however, is working to get over that hurdle.
"Kids are experiencing rejection for no good reason and I think we have work to do to fix that," said Wendy London, a member of the Kennewick School Board...
London has committed to have monthly meetings with the Vista Youth Center. She says hopefully some work on training and education on Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) related issues for school district staff can be done.
We congratulate all of you for participating in the 13th Annual National Day of Silence! Your silence spoke volumes by calling attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. Awareness activities like the DOS can help make schools safer. Now it's time to learn from your event and the experiences of other organizers. Please let us know how it went for you by commenting on this blog post.
Here is a sample of a story from last year’s DOS, and questions to help guide your feedback:
A student from Florida reports: I go to a very small school where there are only about 30 kids in the whole high school so it made it a bit more difficult. I got one of my classmates to be a part of it with me. We accomplished a lot on that day because at least we let people know that it’s ok to speak out no matter what sexual orientation you are. My teacher congratulated me on being involving in the Day of Silence.
Guiding questions for submitting a story:
1. Have you participated in the Day of Silence before?
2. What type of school do you go to, small or large, public or private, rural, urban, or suburban?
3. How many people participated or supported your Day of Silence event?
4. Did anything extraordinary happen?
5. Were there supportive teachers?
6. Did you have a Breaking the Silence event?
>How's this for breaking stereotypes?
...a four-year member of the football and baseball teams, and a band member, Kiran is a well-liked out gay student.
Kiran Raghubir was recently given a Moxie Award and a $2000 scholarship from an organization called PFund.
He always put his academics first—as a result, he has been recognized two years running for having the highest GPA of any player on the football team. According to his Admission Possible senior coach, Kiran has a deep knowledge of himself and his identity, and he is masterful when interacting with his peers. Kiran plans to integrate his love of the clarinet and piano with his college career.
- 2009 PFund Scholarship Recipients (PFund Online)
>Disney Channel star Demi Lovato read about Jaheem Herrera's suicide and was personally moved to speak out. Herrera was the second 11-year-old to take his own life this month due to bullying and harassment using anti-gay taunts. Both boys were very young and neither was known to be gay.
Lovato started tweeting about her own experience with being bullied:
"I can't explain what I went through when I left public school to start homeschooling.. One day I will. But right now..."It honestly amazes me how schools refuse to take action in verbal abuse.. they SAY they do, but this what ends up happening. So, so sad.."
>Here's an ABC World News Tonight piece. Don't forget the Kleenex.
Print article from ABC News.
Philadelphia Daily News ran a similar piece about Carl and the Day of Silence
Here's an article from the Huffington Post about bullying. And the author asks, "maybe its time for the adults to start making some noise."
>Once your Day of Silence event is over make sure that you assess how it went. There are a variety of ways to ask people who participated how it went for them, from having a survey, to having a conversation. You can even do both.
Having a conversation allows people to tell their story in detail. Administering a survey allows you to collect quantitative data. The latter can be good for your school administrators. Both options can help you build upon your DOS activities for next year.
Here is a sample Day of Silence evaluation - download PDF here (1 page).
>In honor of the 13th Annual Day of Silence