May 03, 2013

It's Working!

Once upon a time I thought I would be a history professor, studying and teaching “the science of change,” trying to understand how things change over time. Instead, I have a job dedicated to driving that process. Nonprofit leaders organize and deploy precious resources and support to solve problems and fuel progress. It’s a singular and daunting challenge. As I start year twelve of my GLSEN tenure, I’m proud to say that we now have the clearest evidence yet that GLSEN’s 20+ years of championing LGBT issues in education is working. The 2011 National School Climate Survey provides us both the snapshot of a school year and a window onto the progress and process of change. For many years, GLSEN has worked to increase the presence of critical school-based supports and resources in K-12 schools nationwide. In 2011, the level of these supports continued to rise across the country. The report also demonstrates how these supports are improving LGBT student experience, in terms of both individual well-being and educational opportunity. But the report, the only national study that has consistently examined the experiences of LGBT students in America’s schools over time, also tells a bigger story. Its graphs and figures document the progress of a fundamental struggle – the effort to reduce the levels of bias and violence experienced by LGBT students. Looking back across a decade, we now can see a sustained pattern and the beginning of a downward arc. You can read the full report or executive summary here. Knowing that the solutions we offer are working creates an even greater sense of urgency - we must reach those communities where change has not yet taken hold. While we are encouraged by progress, much work remains. More than 8 out of 10 LGBT students still experience harassment at school each year because of their sexual orientation and nearly 2 out of 3 because of their gender expression. More change must happen and we need your help. Please join our campaign to educate principals about the simple actions proven to fundamentally change LGBT students’ school experiences. We’ve created an email you can send to let administrators know how they can be a part of the solution. With your help, GLSEN will achieve our goal of safe schools for ALL students! Thank you for your commitment to helping us make history.

Eliza Byard

About Eliza Byard

Dr. Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

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