While transgender students still face bullying and discrimination at school, a new measure in California may help them achieve a greater measure of equality. Signed by Governor Brown in August, this measure will help allow transgender students to go to classes, join sports and use the bathroom that matches their gender. This legally ends the exclusion of transgender students from classes and activities that are appropriate for them.
A new study from New York University entitled “The Effect of Negative School Climate on Academic Outcomes for LGBT Youth and the Role of In-School Supports shows what many of us suspected: That LGBT students have better grades, attend school more and have better self esteem when the school climate is better. As Journalists Resource reports, the aspect that most predicted positive, healthy outcomes for LGBT youth in schools were supportive teachers and administrators. Other predictors of good outcomes were having access to a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a curriculum that included positive images of LGBT people.
This study helps us connect that school bullying and harassment of LGBT youth has a far reaching impact: lower GPAs and absenteeism might decrease a student’s chances of getting into a college they want or getting a job that suits them. It is important for our schools to be safe places for all students to learn, socialize and grow.
Read the full article here.
So often I speak with teachers, therapists, and other allies who want to be of assistance but are stymied by the terminology — especially about the difference between gender and sexual orientation. They’re often practically desperate to ask about these things so they can interact with LGBTQ folks in a helpful way, or at least without being offensive!
Language around issues of gender and sexuality can have real impact. Many times people stifle conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Caryn B. Oppenheim, with support from Safe Schools Coalition, has produced a great new guide that can help teachers, schools, gay straight-alliances, college groups and many others answer some of these questions and problems. With sections on “Fluidity, Categorization, and Vocabulary”, “Coming Out”, “Language and Homophobia”, “Intersections of Identity”, “Testimonies” and “International Perspectives” it should really help you feel more “in the know” as you work in your community. Whether you’re a parent, trying to help your child’s school get more educated about LGBTQ issues, or a gay therapist new to the terminology around gender, this guide will go a long way toward creating some shared language — maybe helping us all understand a little more.
A new study by the Family Acceptance Project supports what many of us probably already knew: That LGBTQ students who go to schools with gay-straight alliances (GSAs) — even if they never attend — are happier and more successful. They seem to have lower rates of depression, suicide and substance use. They also have more success in school and are more likely to go on to higher education. This seems to fit with the notion that when LGBTQ youth receive even a small amount of regular support or acceptance, they are healthier and happier. A previous study showed that youth whose parents made even small efforts to be more accepting were had better mental health than those who don’t.
For more information on GSA’s, see the GSA Network. This fantastic non-profit has information about how to find a GSA near you, and how to start and build one in your school!
Sick of hearing homophobic lyrics on the radio? Are you already in a band or starting to learn? Or, maybe you just want to be a rock star…
The terrific blog, OutImpact, has highlighted a great new summer camp: Queer Rock Camp. For LGBTQIA youth ages 12 – 21, this tuition-free camp aims to empower youth by ” building confidence, fostering and strengthening peer alliances and dismantling gender binaries.”
From queer youth film programs to queer youth dance programs, the arts have long been a way to help LGBTQIA youth express who they are, meet supportive peers and adults, and gain access to a creative voice that helps fight the impact of homophobia and bullying. Following in this tradition, the Queer Rock Camp will allow students to learn and hone musical skills and add something new and fresh to the rock genre.
Right now, the Queer Rock Camp is accessible to all youth by being tuition-free. Thus, it is in need of donations — both monetary and equipment. Monetary donations can be made online at StonewallYouth.org, by specifying “Queer Rock Camp” in the designation section. They can provide their EIN number for tax deduction upon request. Equipment donations can be made by contacting Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Children’s Hospital in Boston has posted a lovely piece by a father parenting a trans girl. In the studies showing the problems and hardships that trans youth face, we can easily lose sight of the wonderful richness and love that can arise for a family out of this experience. No doubt, some trans youth face higher rates of many hardships such as bullying, anxiety and depression. However, supportive families and friends can make a big difference. And, with an open heart, a trans youth can change your life, too.
Read more at The Children’s Hospital Boston’s Blog.