School Personnel As Allies to LGBTQI Families Breaking the Silence: Empowering School Counselors Conference February 2010 Presented by Caryn Hoffman, MS PPS Timothy Lopez,
Goals • Make Schools Safe /supportive for all students including LGBTQI • Help students & families improve communication and functionality • Help students & families/caregivers reach full potential
ASCA National Standards Theme: Advocacy, Collaboration and Systemic Change Standard 13: The professional school counselor is a student advocate, leader, collaborator and a systems change agent
Inclusive Campuses supporting LGBTQI students …. • LGBTQI Curriculum • Faculty /staff inservices to support the needs of LGBTQI youth • GSA Clubs • Active Anti- Discrimination policies
Outcomes • Tool Kit Essentials for supporting LGBTQI families on your campus inlcuding: Safe Schools CA AB 547 and SAFE SPACE Kit • Role Play • Make a list of next steps for becoming a better advocate
Safe & Secure Campus, Federal, state, local, district laws Emergency Services LGBTQI friendly • Campus Anti-bullying programs List of SAFE staff GSA Club Network booklet GLSEN Safe Space Kit List of local support group resources HRC Pamphlets, brochures Toolkit Essentials
INSERTACA-LGBTQ Youth and Safe Space Speaking UP and OUT: Social Justice Leaders on LGBTQI issues in Counseling ACA Presidential Session •Maninvong J. Ratts, Ph.D., N.C.C., Assistant Professior and School Psychology, College of Education, Seattle University
INSERT Sykes http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/psa.asp?play=tvspots&video=TV_FittingRoom_30
ACA LGBTQI Competencies • Human Growth and Development • Social and Cultural Foundations • Helping Relationships • Group Work • Career and Lifestyle Development • Appraisal • Research • Professional Orientation • http://www.algbtic.org/competencies.html
Heterosexual Questionnaire1. When did you first decide you were a heterosexual?2. Why do you insist on being so obvious , and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality?3. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?4. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable realtionships among heterosexuals?
Safe Space • “a welcoming, supportive and safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.” • Purpose: to counteract the findings of the GLSEN National School Climate Survey • Read through the GLSEN SAFE SPACE KIT booklet carefully
Steps to becoming an Ally • An ally is someone who speaks out and stands up for a person or groups that is targeted and discriminated against and works to end oppression by advocating for people that are stigmatized.
Know the issues Provide Support Know your personal bias Educate students, staff and the community Advocate for change on your campus 4 parts to being an ally • Know your personal bias
Do’s & Don’t’s • Recognize that the initial response by a counselor when a student “comes out” is important…. • Do offer support, be a role model of aceptence, appreciate their courage and listen, listen, listen. Assure & respect confidentiality. • Don’t, say, “I knew it,” “Are you sure?,” “It’s just a phase.”
Responding to Anti-LGBT Language • Address Name-Calling, Bullying or harrassment IMMEDIATELY • Name the behavior: “I heard you use the word faggot and that is derogatory and considered name-calling. That language is unacceptable.” • Use the Teachable Moment to teach & decide now or later? • Support the targeted student. Don’t assume you know what they’re feeling. Ask if they need anything. Suggest a counselor visit only if they request extra help. • Hold students accountable. Check your school policies across all types of name-calling, bullying and harassment.
Counseling Families Background: • There is a positive correlation between strong family function and parents coming to positive terms with children coming out. (Positively Gay, Patty Benzon). When families are not strongly connected, emergency resources are especially important. • Parents don’t usually have experience or info on LGBTQI and the same goes for students with parents that have “come out” recently. They need this information to “normalize” LGBTQI and demystify these orientations. • Parents need to see the data on the GLSEN school survey and understand that students can become particularly vulnerable, suicide attempts, tobacco, drugs, alcohol use may start or increase, etc. • It important that the counselor be regarded as a permanent not a transitory counselor for the student to facilitate trust.
Gather observations: • Determine what the student’s and parents’ identifiers are: African American? First-born college? They may not identify primarily as LGBTQI. • Students / parents feeling marginalized /victimized will need more support. • Refer to Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and other support groups as needed.
continued • Determine the student’s and if possible parents’ resiliency factors to utilize these characteristics in sustaining the parties thru the transformation and acceptance. • Determine where the student and the parents thrive.
When parents find out their child isn’t heterosexual… • Loss of their hopes, dreams and expectations for a traditional life, lack of grandchildren, and of being a grandparent • Shock • Denial and Isolation • Anger and other feelings in the grieving process…including depression, loss of appetite, anger, etc. Parental Reactions to their Child’s Disclosure of a Gay/Lesbian Identity, Savin-Williams & Dube
Process • Build on identified strengths and utilize when possible to facilitate communication between parties. • Counselors may want to consult with colleagues on operational planning. • Advocate “compassion” and “understanding” by all parties • Remain open and offer help. Don’t hesitate to declare that you “don’t know a lot about helping but you will find out.” • Suggest GSA to student
Comments: • Don’t worry about what to say when a student or parent “comes out.” Remember to be a COUNSELOR. • Declare that the schools can and will do a better job. • Exercise compassion and understanding.
TEVIN, 14, WINDSOR, CT • Your First Name: TevinAge: 14Where do you live? Windsor CT Tell us about your family: I have a lesbian mom we live alone right now. My white mom adopted me and my sister Troya. What is your favorite hobby, sport or activity? My favorite hobby is football and basketball Do you participate in any COLAGE activities, events or programs? Which ones? Do you like them? Why? I participate in the COLAGE Connecticut chapter and I love it because we get to find families in our state that is like mine. What is the hardest thing about having gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parent/s? The hardest part of having a lesbian mom is that people make fun and bully me about my mom. What's the best thing about having gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parent/s? The best thing about having a lesbian mom is that you can meet a girl and it is helpful that your mom is also interested in women. What do you wish the world knew about people with LGBTQ parents? I wish the world could see how that we are the same as them What advice or ideas would you want to share with other kids who have LGBTQ parents? I would want to tell them to make change by starting a COLAGE chapter in their home town.
Bibilography • HRC:Human Rights Coalition hrc.org • ThinkB4youspeak http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/ForEducators/ • COLAGE: COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parent/s. http://www.colage.org/ • Lambda Archive: http://www.lambdaarchives.org/ • Parents, Families And Friends of Lesbians And Gays: www.plfag.org • Gay Youth Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org • Gay, Straight Alliance Network: http://gsanetwork.org • ALGBTIC http://www.algbtic.org/competencies.html
School Safety & Violence Prevention for LGBT students http://gsanetwork.org/files/resources/School Safety and Violence Prevention.pdf • Positively Gay, Patty Benzon • Podcast, RCW 28 A.300.285