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(and running). Starting a Gay Straight Alliance in Your School. Challenging homophobia. Training teachers. Finding resources. Having fun. Changing your school. Why start a GSA?. 65% of LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) people experience homophobic bullying

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starting a gay straight alliance in your school

(and running)

Starting a Gay Straight Alliance in Your School

Challenging homophobia

Training teachers

Finding resources

Having fun

Changing your school

why start a gsa
Why start a GSA?
  • 65% of LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) people experience homophobic bullying
  • 97% of LGB students hear derogatory phrases such as “dyke” or “poof” used in school
  • 1/2 of teachers fail to respond to homophobic language when they hear it.
  • A Gay Straight Alliance can be a place of support and education!

“The School Report” Stonewall 2007

what can a gsa do
What can a GSA do?
  • Set up staff training
  • Create a safe place for LGBT people
  • Meet awesome people
  • Change the climate of your school!
  • Have LGBT friendly social events
  • Get connected to LGBT organizations and support groups
convince your school

Convince Your School

(how to)

Effects of homophobia

Statistics

More statistics

Legislation

the costs of homophobia
The Costs of Homophobia
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Truancy to escape persecution
  • Giving up on academic achievement
    • Too hard to work in a hostile environment
  • Suffering from mental and/or physical health conditions
    • Such as eating disorders, as a result of anxiety and eroded self esteem
homophobia in schools
Homophobia in Schools

98%of LGBT pupils hear “that’s so gay” at school

75%of young LGBT people in faith schools experience homophobic bullyingandare less likelythan pupils in other schoolsto report it

Only 1/4of schools say thathomophobic bullying is wrong in their school

30%of LGBT pupilsreport thatadults are responsiblefor homophobic incidents at their school

“The School Report” Stonewall 2007

slide7
58%of LGBT pupils don’t report bullying when they experience it

If a teacher is informed, 62%of the time, nothing is done

7% of teachers are reported to respond when they hear homophobic language

“The School Report” Stonewall 2007

90%of 15-24 year olds have been called names because of their sexuality

“Profiles of Prejudice” Stonewall and Mori 2003

Black, Asian, disabled and younger pupils are all more likely to experience homophobic violence

“Uneven Vulnerability” GALOP

your legal rights

(how to fight for)

Your Legal Rights

Policy!

Language?

The government is on your side

equality act sexual orientation 2007
Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) 2007
  • Discrimination
    • Is when you are treated less favorably than someone else because of your real or perceived sexual orientation.
    • It is unlawful for your school to discriminate against a person who seeks to use its facilities or services based on real or perceived sexual orientation.
  • Starting a GSA
    • It is unlawful for your school to discriminate against a pupil by refusing the pupil access to any benefit, facility or service based on real or perceived sexual orientation.
equality act sexual orientation 2007 what it means
Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) 2007(what it means)
  • Clubs
    • If your school has other school sponsored clubs but won’t let you start a GSA because of the “nature of the club” it is being discriminatory under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation)
  • School Activities
    • You are allowed to take part in all school activities such as sports, lessons, assemblies and dances and can’t be denied access because of real or perceived sexual orientation
learning and skills act 2000 sex and relationship guide 2000
Learning and Skills Act 2000Sex and Relationship Guide 2000
  • It is now required for teachers to:
    • Challenge stigmatism of LGBT families in lessons about families, marriages and stable relationships
    • Give positive information of LGBT people to enable pupils to challenge derogatory stereotypes and prejudice
    • Challenge all forms of homophobic bullying
  • Ofsted will now include addressing homophobic bullying in their inspections
every child matters dfes 2004
Every Child Matters (DfES 2004)
  • Ofsted will report on how schools promote:
    • Physical and mental health
    • Safety and protection from harm and neglect
    • Enjoying and achieving
    • Positive contributions by being positively involved in community and society
    • Economic wellbeing
what it all means
What it all Means
  • Schools are currently hostile environments for LGBT students and their allies
  • Schools have a responsibility to protect their students regardless of sexual orientation
  • Schools are legally required to promote equality and safety
  • Schools can’t discriminate based on real or perceived sexual orientation
  • You have the right to be safe and comfortable at school and your school has the responsibility to make sure you are!
language
Language?
  • The queer alphabet: LGBTQQAIP…
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, a-sexual, intersexed, pansexual
  • Homo/Bi/Transphobia
    • The irrational fear and hatred of LGBT people
    • A homo/bi/transphobic incident is any incident which is perceived to be homo/bi/transphobic to the victim or another person
    • It is directed to impact those known or perceived to be LGBT
  • Heterosexism
    • Is a set of assumptions and practices that promotes heterosexual relationships as the only ’natural’ and valid form of sexual orientation
    • Recognises/rewards those who are heterosexual and ignores/penalises those who are not
slide15
Sexual Orientation
    • Describes who you are physically and sexually attracted to
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Questioning, Straight
  • Sex
    • Biological characteristics such as chromosomes, genitalia, hormones
    • Female, Male, Intersexed
  • Gender
    • How you feel and experience your gender
    • Not defined by your sex!
    • Gender is fluid: masculine, feminine, androgynous, genderqueer…
  • Transgender
    • A person who doesn’t identify with their biological sex
    • Might go through surgery, might not
  • Ally
    • A straight person who is supportive of the LGBT community
how do you start a gsa
How do you start a GSA?
  • Find some supportive friends who want to help out
  • Ask a teacher to be a sponsor
  • Establish the club like any other club
    • Look in your Student Handbook for the rules at your school. This may include getting permission from senior management, finding an advisor, and/or writing a constitution.
  • Inform the senior management team
    • It can be very helpful to have the senior management on your side. They can work as liaisons on your behalf with other teachers, parent groups, community members, and the school board. If the senior management team is resistant to the GSA, let them know that forming a GSA club is protected under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation)
slide17
Inform guidance counselors/school nurses
    • They might know some students who would be interested in joining
  • Pick a meeting place and advertise
    • Figure out the best way to advertise at your school. It may be a combination of school bulletin announcements, flyers, and word-of-mouth. If your flyers are defaced or torn down, do not be discouraged. Keep putting them back up. Eventually, whoever is tearing them down will give up.
    • Advertising for your group and having words up such as "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning" or "end homophobia" or "discuss sexual orientation" can be part of educating the school and can actually make other students feel safer -- even if they never attend a single meeting.
  • Bring food
    • Everyone loves food!

GSA Network “How to Start a GSA”

but my school s too homophobic

But My School’s Too Homophobic!

How to start a GSA without support

Getting support

Staying safe

Be prepared

alternatives
Alternatives

(creating change without a GSA)

  • Find supportive people
  • Inform your senior management and staff about the laws protecting LGBT youth
  • Ask staff to discuss LGBT History Month, IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) and other LGBT events
  • Bring your friends to LGBT youth groups
  • Stay informed!
finding support
Finding Support
  • Friends
  • Parents
    • If your parents or guardians are supportive, they can be a great resource to pressure the school
  • Staff
    • Is there an openly LGBT teacher?
    • Are guidance counselors/school nurses supportive?
    • Is there a health or PHSRE/citizenship teacher?
  • Community support
    • Community LGBT youth groups have great resources and could provide you with an ally
    • National organizations such as Schools OUT, Chrysalis and Stonewall have many contacts and will know someone in your area
      • REMEMBER! You have the legal right to have a GSA and to feel safe at your school
staying safe
Staying Safe
  • Don’t do anything that will put you in physical harm
    • Always plan events with teachers and senior management present
    • Inform your staff advisor of your plans in advance
    • Hold events in a safe space with allies and friends present
  • Know your rights
    • Look over your school’s student handbook and know your rights at school
    • Talk with community groups to get ideas for safe events
keep it simple
Keep it Simple
  • Start out slow
    • Before you plan a school assembly on homophobia, introduce more subtle ways to combat ignorance and intolerance
    • Put up safe space posters in teacher’s classrooms
    • Give teachers and librarians LGBT friendly books and movies to put up and show off
    • Hold a meeting with senior management and staff about the needs of LGBT students at your school
  • Make it about safety
    • Creating a GSA and having LGBT friendly events is about creating a safe space for LGBT people to learn and live
be prepared
Be Prepared
  • Can be hard work
    • Setting up a GSA and running LGBT friendly events can be hard work, especially when dealing with tough senior management and staff.
    • Make sure to take time for yourself and have some fun
    • Celebrate your achievements and always keep a supportive group of friends and allies with you
i have a gsa now what
I Have a GSA, Now What?

Fun activities

Resources and tools

Developing a strategy

Creating change

Planning events

Ideas!

slide25
Having fun
  • Being inclusive
  • Getting resources
  • Safe space posters
  • LGBT friendly posters
  • Fundraising
  • LGBT History Month!
  • Surveys
  • Day of Silence
  • Public Speaking
  • Training Staff!
fun things to do
Fun Things To Do
  • LGBT movie night
  • Throw a party
    • IDAHO
  • Have a picnic or baking party
  • Plan trips to LGBT places in town
    • Coffee shops
    • LGBT youth groups
  • Dance party
being inclusive
Being Inclusive
  • Make sure every one has a space to speak
  • Be sure every one is comfortable
  • Don’t separate into “boys” and “girls”
  • Hold anti-oppression/racism workshops
    • Commission for Equality and Human Rights
  • Build coalitions with other clubs and community groups
remember lgbt people are
Remember, LGBT people are

diverse

daughters

Asian

Indian

extraordinary

successful

fathers

foster parents

parents

smart

sons

White

uncles

Mixed-heritage

teachers

scientists

sisters

friends

religious

brothers

farmers

Black

students

mothers

family

workmates

ordinary

grandparents

In-laws

friends

athletes

getting resources
Community Groups

Schools OUT

LGBT youth groups

Community and school counselors

Online

GSA Network

LGBT History Month

Stonewall

Queer Youth Network

EACH

Chrysalis

No Outsiders

National Union of Teachers

Getting Resources
safe space posters
Safe Space Posters
  • Give to supportive teachers to put in classrooms
  • Put GSA information on them so people know where to go
  • The "Safe Zone" symbol is a message to LGBT youth and adult allies. A person displaying this symbol is one who will be understanding, supportive, and trustworthy if a LGBT youth needs help, advice, or just someone with whom they can talk

GSA Network “Hate Free Zone”

fundraising
Fundraising
  • Club bank account
    • Become familiar with your school's system for financing student organizations. How do clubs set up bank accounts? Where will donations go? Who will donation checks be made out to? Who has the power to sign checks? Talk to other student leaders at your school, your advisor, and the senior management team to get ideas and advice.
  • Fundraising as a club activity
    • Have a bake sale or car wash - it's not very original, but it usually works. Or add your own twist - instead of selling just cookies, sell cookies with rainbow chocolate chips.
    • Sponsor a play, concert, or other cultural event to benefit your GSA. You might also consider donating part of the proceeds to a community organization or charity.
    • Look into community grant making programs.

GSA Network “GSA Fundraising”

survey your school
Survey Your School
  • Teachers and senior management not listening?
    • Use already made surveys as a guide
    • Survey your own school to show that homophobia is a problem
  • Find out what problems are most important at your school
lgbt history month
LGBT History Month
  • Every February is LGBT History Month
  • Now in its fourth year, LGBT HM is the largest cultural and educational LGBT event in world
  • Celebrate LGBT history at your school with posters, assemblies, movies, speakers and parties
day of silence
Day of Silence
  • The Day of Silence is an annual event held to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Students and teachers will observe the day in silence to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face everyday
  • Inform teachers and senior management for their support
  • Make badges, T-Shirts and flyers to advertise the day
  • Have a rally before school to get everyone involved and excited
  • Don’t speak for the entire day!
training staff
Training Staff
  • Schools OUT leads staff training about anti-LGBT harassment, discrimination, bullying and the development of an inclusive curriculum
  • Training teaches staff how to respond to homophobic bullying, create a school environment that is safe for everyone and create and deliver a curriculum that is appropriate to the needs of all
  • To get your staff trained, contact Schools OUT www.schools-out.org.uk
peer education workshops
Peer Education Workshops
  • Educating your peers about issues of sexual orientation and homophobia can be one of the most effective ways to make your school safer for LGBTQ students, and GSAs are a great framework for implementing an anti-homophobia peer education program.
  • Come up with a lesson plan for the workshop or download one online from a LGBT community group
    • Some places to look are:
      • GSA Network
      • Schools OUT
      • Chrysalis
points to remember
Points to Remember
  • There is something you can do about the homophobia at your school
  • There is legislation that protects you
  • There are support organizations that can help you
  • School is legally supposed to be a safe place to learn for everyone