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The LGBT Community Within The School System learning to collaborate and communicate with the LGBT community to make schools safer more accepting places
What is the LGBT community? The LGBT community refers to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community. As with any public or social institution it can be expected that there are/will be people with different sexual orientations within the education system, be it teachers or students
There are LGBT students and faculty within schools across the country Schools across the country range in degrees of support for students with other sexual orientations from schools that have virtually no support for students or faculty within the LGBT community to schools designed specifically to be places where sexual orientation is not an issue. Differing regions of the country also have vastly differing opinions on the tolerance of sexual orientation
GSA’s GSA’s or gay straight alliances, are possibly the most well known clubs within education that help LGBT students within schools.
Issues surrounding the LGBT community within school systems Schools are working on making the school environments more accepting of students with different sexual orientations Since the development of GSA’s (gay straight alliances) within many schools the LGBT and school communities have made great improvements in making schools a comfortable place for students within the community and those who support them
The Current Issue Tensions are still high in educational settings There are still a lot of prejudices to members of the LGBT community both students and faculty within the schools.
LGBT children are coming out at younger and younger ages so while a decade ago the idea of dealing with LGBT students in High Schools was rare and it was more a Collegiate issue, more and more people are “coming out” earlier, usually “coming out” while in High School sometimes earlier. A news update currently being featured on GLSEN talks specifically about Middle School LGBT students facing more harassment within school than their high school peers.
How this issue relates to you as a future educator within the school system You as a future educator are going to have to work to make an environment that is safe and comfortable for all students (especially those within the LGBT community) Members of the LGBT community are beginning to “come out” earlier, and they need an environment that they can feel safe in.
some things to think about… Recent research that can be found at www.glsen.org has shown in a 2007 survey found that most GLBT children (86%) report being harassed in school GSA was started in 1998 to help empower GLBT youth and to fight homophobia and transphobia There are over 4,000 GSA’s in schools as of 2008
Addressing the Issue The legal aspect of the LGBT battle within education is changing rapidly and unexpectedly these days within education Two legal issues relating to the LGBT community within schools that are currently being debated and dealt with are 1.)States making laws that protect people of differing sexual orientations within the workplace 2.) Laws surrounding the issue of bullying and harassment within schools
Research on PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) has information on the two major pieces of legislation active in Congress this year: 1.) amendment to the safe and drug free schools and committees act 2.) Safe Schools (Anti-Bullying) Improvement Act
Programs Encouraging Tolerance Days of Silence No Name Calling Week Pride Week
References www.glsen.org www.pflag.org Rainbow droplet picture courtesy of flcikr creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/2828476024/ Courtroom courtesy of flickr creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/crobj/4312159033/ Clasping hands courtesy of flickr creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/giantginkgo/73408479/ Rainbow Heart “” http://www.flickr.com/photos/zen/1141064559/ Rainbow Wall courtesy of flickr creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredosan/536203650/