It was so meaningful to participate in a GLSEN
training yesterday, August 30, 2016 called
CREATING A SAFE SPACE FOR
THEIR LIVES MAY DEPEND ON IT!
In the picture below, I radiated excitement. The
GLSEN presentation was about to begin!
Let me back up a bit so you know a bit more about GLSEN and my connection to them.
Back when I was a junior high schooler, I lived in metro Boston, Massachusetts. I remember learning about a teacher at another local school who was fired for coming out as gay. I was shocked. I wasn't surprised that the teacher was gay; I was surprised that he was fired for being gay and coming out as such.
Although I wasn't fully out to myself, let alone to others
at this point in my life, I knew deeply that being gay was
an honorable way of being in the world.
GLSEN was founded to support this teacher
and to, in turn, change the school system to
make school a more inclusive and safe space for lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and / or transgender students to learn.
Once I found out about GLSEN's
existence, I knew that one day,
when I was an adult, I would find a
way to volunteer for this important
Fast forward to now, some 26 years later,
and I am a proud GLSEN volunteer.
Dennis and Irina, both rockin' members of GLSEN - San Diego's Board of Directors were presenting to
some 40+ Americore volunteers during their orientation yesterday at San Diego's Department of
Education facilities. I was invited to watch their presentation and get to know more about their style, so
that soon, I could jump on in and begin to co-facilitate presentations myself - GLSEN style.
I ended up doing a lot more than watching and listening. I learned.
I learned that, according to the Constitutional Right to Privacy, it is against the law for educators to share a student's sexual orientation or gender identity, without permission, including disclosing this information to family.
I learned that due to the Equal Access Act, any school that allows an extracurricular club, has to allow a Gender and Sexuality club.
I found out that in California, according to Seth's Law (AB 9), schools "must adopt anti-bullying policies and procedures and school personnel are REQUIRED to intervene." That's right, according to Seth's Law, staying silent when bullying is witnessed is against the law.
These are but three of the federal and state policies I learned yesterday from GLSEN's training.
I learned from my colleagues, Dennis and Irina, and I learned from our participants. I am grateful for the openness in which these leaders, from Americore and GLSEN alike, all shared with each other. I also learned about the laws that support our LGBT students here in California.
And I spoke. I introduced myself. I shared a coming out story (I have many). I defined gender - to the best of my ability in the 3 minutes I had :) - and explained one slide for the attendees. I answered questions. I supported Americore volunteers as they enthusiastically participated in the training.
I was a part of the team.
And, what a team it was! I would be proud to work with them again - in a heartbeat. Dennis and Irina are generous, big hearted people, that I feel lucky to get to know.
Here's a picture of the three of us after the training.
And here's one of Dennis and myself.
I am grateful to be able to have fulfilled my promise to myself to volunteer for GLSEN, an organization who stood up for one of its own and, in turn, worked to protect and empower generations of LGBTQIQA - students and their educators.
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Would you like to bring GLSEN to your school? We can help train your administrators and educators to be LGBTQIQA - allies and we can work to support your students' Gender and Sexuality Associations (GSAs). Please let us know by emailing me at email@example.com . I would be happy to pass along your information to GLSEN if you would like me to!
Would you prefer to get involved in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning youth in other ways? There are many opportunities available at GLSEN.
Please reach out and connect with GLSEN San Diego on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GLSENSanDiego/ or on San Diego GLSEN's website at http://www.glsen.org/chapters/sandiegocounty or the national web site at http://www.glsen.org .
As for me, I'll be continuing to volunteer for
GLSEN as a speaking bureau volunteer in North
County San Diego.
- - -
In solidarity with LGBTQIQA youth and educators alike,
Dr. Abi Weissman
As always, this blog post does not indicate a therapeutic relationship between you and Dr. Weissman. If you are interested in connecting with Dr. Abi Weissman for therapeutic services and reside in California, USA, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 403-5578.