Be More Than A Witness…

….and do more than make a video.

Anyone who’s been in earshot of me lately has heard about my issues with the “It Gets Better” campaign. There’s a good critique of it here.

And here are some facts:

About a third of LGBT kids miss school at least once a month because they are physically afraid.

Almost 20% of them have been assaulted at school in the last year.

These statistics are much higher for queer kids of color and trans or gender queer youth.

There are LGBTQ youth living on the street or in shelters who are at an even higher risk of assault, rape, and suicide.

As usual, the solutions are low-tech and require commitment. Support the people who are on the ground helping these kids every day. Volunteer with a shelter or a group in your community. Start one if there isn’t one. Donate to GLSEN so schools in your community can organize and identify safe spaces. The Trevor Project is looking for volunteers right now. Write to your Representative and Senators and urge them to pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

And let’s make something else clear: LGBTQ young people are not the only ones we need to reach out to. Straight kids and cis kids need to learn how to be allies–and how to deal with homophobic and transphobic slurs that they receive. Young people who engage in bullying behavior need to be held accountable, but also understood–they have often been bullied and abused themselves. We as adults need to listen.

It’s been 12 years since Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered for being gay. Last week three men were kidnapped and tortured because they were suspected of being gay. That’s not getting better.

3 Comments to “Be More Than A Witness…”

  1. i’ve written about an educational approach called The Responsive Classroom, in which anti-bullying ed is incorporated into the curriculum. it stresses empathy, consequences, collaboration, tolerance and the role of bystanders and allies in bullying situations. they have trainings for teachers, but anyone can read the web site.

    a Tablet commenter just posted this: http://www.writeyourprincipal.com/. i like the idea of alumni of a high school letting current principals know their concerns.

    you could also find out if your state has a school anti-bullying law that includes harassment of LGBT students (and work toward the passage of such a law if there isn’t one!). NYS *just* passed one, but it won’t go into effect until 2012.

  2. I love all of that! Thanks MI

  3. I just remembered my high school doesn’t exist any more which is always so odd. But I’m going to write to the district and also donate through GLSEN.

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