I have been having conversations lately about person-first language vs. identity-first language. I have come to realize there is no clear answer or guidance. Like all work related to identity — it’s all about taking the lead from members of the community. Check out the link below -- this is a great article and has help frame my thinking.
This document remains one of my all-time favorites to share with educators. I feel is important for all adults to feel they have their go-to response when children have questions about gender. For me, I often feel like the simplest response is the best. I tend to use, "because that what make them happy". Check out this great resource below from Gender Spectrum - it is chockfull of great language.
The Trevor Project’s Coming Out: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People, is a resource that covers a wide range of topics to support LGBTQ young people in exploring what coming out safely can mean for them.
Check out the back to school program GLSEN recently launched to support educators across the country who are addressing some recent events and tragedies affecting us all (e.g. mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, two more in a seemingly continuous timeline of gun violence, along with the Mississippi ICE raids).
The start of a school year is an important time to get-to-know your students. In addition, it is a critical time to establish your classroom as a place where all students will be cared for and respected. There are lots of ways to get to know your students (games, activities, reflective activities, etc.). This tool asks a series of questions that cover a range of topics, but most importantly, this activity revolves around the learner’s identity. Click the image below to check it out!
The Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council is holding its annual GSA Student Leadership Summit from August 10–12, 2019 at UMASS Amherst. The Summit is free to attend, meals and limited transportation are provided. The goal of the summit is to develop high school student leaders and support statewide connections by establishing a statewide body of student leaders known as the Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council.
Here is a direct link to the applications:
Below are a bunch of photographs from the 2018 GSA Student Leadership Summit. Check them out!
Ya'll, this is how to use your power and your platform to send a strong message of love and support. Thank you Don Cheadle! This is beautiful.
SpeakOUT Boston Scholarship
Applications for the 2019 scholarship are now being accepted.
Award: There will be two $500 scholarships awarded in 2019. Each awardee will also be given the opportunity to take SpeakOUT’s Speaker Training for free. Click here to learn more.
FLAG (Friends, Lesbians, and Gays) Flag Football will be awarding up to $5,000 to a graduating Massachusetts high school student or students who will be attending a two- or four-year college or a post-high school career school in the 2019-2020 academic year. The scholarship will be awarded to a student who has made high school and/ or community sports programs safer for, and more inclusive of, LGBTQ student-athletes, as either a role model or ally. Students of all athletic skill levels, achievement, and contributions are encouraged to apply. All students are welcome and encouraged to apply. Additional Information about the scholarship and previous recipients can be found here.
The link to the scholarship can be found by clicking here.
The application deadline, including receipt of two letters of recommendation, is February 22, 2019.
For the past 20 years, on World AIDS Day, I have always stopped by the Boston Center for the Arts to spend a bit of time in the Medicine Wheel. The “Medicine Wheel,” is a 24-hour vigil with a major sculptural art installation rooted in the Celtic Medicine Wheel. The space uses the universal symbol of the circle as gathering spot for individuals to come together to heal, reflect and remember. For me, taking time of silent contemplation, prayer and reflection is important. This day is about supporting people I love who are HIV positive and remembering the many people we have lost.
I often think about how we reflect the true diversity of the people in our schools and communities. Recently, I was talking with a student about the how LGBTQ folks are increasingly being represented in on TV and in the media. I made some quick remark about increased visibility being beneficial to us all. Without hesitation the student said, "famous people do not represent my experience as a young person in this city". The student went on to explain that these individuals are typically wealthy, white and popular. In addition, famous people have access to designers, surgeons and a host of other supports that help them project the image they what the public to see. This student told me that they need to see young people, students of color, and lot more nonbinary representations of gender.
I want to share a few examples of how we can create greater visibility in our schools and communities for people who are often underrepresented. This is a small collection of images that will work in middle and high schools. I am doing a little digging to find ways this can be done similarly within elementary schools.
I am so excited to share these with the world. I have been thinking a lot these days about how to be more active - specifically as it relates to supporting the transgender and gender nonconforming people who I love and who are part of our schools, communities, state, country and world. I realized that we need to be more overt when it comes to letting people know they are welcome and loved.
I approached my friend Quinn to be a co-conspirator on this project. Quinn excitedly agreed. Together, we developed a series of welcome signs for schools to use.
I hope people use these signs. Our LGBTQ students and families need to see them. In my opinion, we need to be more visible in our support and love.