A great interview by NPR on “Talk of the Nation” with Judy Chiasson with the Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity at the Los Angeles Unified School District and Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, also known as GLSEN. Listen to it here.
Two important points are made in the interview. First is that a safe school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is a matter of educational equality. LGBT students who are bullied at school miss more school than other students and often, therefore, miss out on important educational opportunities. The other point is that not all LGBT students require the same level of service. This is important because it emphasizes that being LGBT in itself is not a cause for intervention and resources. Problems arise from a non-supportive home or school environment and from the homophobic culture that we all live in. Youth who have supportive families, teachers and friends may only need assistance in clarifying their needs or identity, if that. Other youth may struggle with discrimination on different levels.
NPR does a good job of outlining the most important aspects of the youth experience and how some schools and organizations go about making a safer, more equal environment for all youth.