Cathedral Building

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girlwithalessonplan:

I tried ordering some “safe space kits” for my school for the GSA we’re going to start next year, and there was an error on GLSEN’s site, and I couldn’t get any for my school.

Grr.

This isn’t a safe space kit BUT, if you haven’t hooked up with these folks already, they may be able to supply you with some resources:  http://www.indianayouthgroup.org/gsa-info

I would give it a shot — if nothing else, even if they don’t have physical kits for you, they have a statewide network listing to sign up with and may be able to offer school trainings.  The local organization on Long Island was absolutely great that way and served as a valuable liaison, role model, and educator to GSAs.

Or you might have found it already.  Or (I’m hoping I didn’t make THIS big a faux-pas) they may not even be the right state.  But I think I remembered right.

Filed under education lgbtq gsa

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girlwithalessonplan asked: Teacher dare day: Any tips for starting a GSA club?

There are a lot of variables depending on who’s starting it and where, but I’ll go with a few universals.

  • Assess your climate.  If you were going to tackle a piece of reading, you’d want to know how difficult it might be, what words you may or may not know, and if you might need extra research to understand its context.  If you were going to go cliff-jumping, you’d want to know whether you needed a swimsuit or a parachute.  Starting a GSA might be as simple as reading said passage or as difficult and harrowing as jumping off said cliff, depending on whether or not your environment is accepting.  Even if you have to struggle, it will still be worth the fight to the other people you’re affecting.
  • Be articulate and well-prepared.  Find, or be, a willing and dedicated advisor.  Gather signatures from students and faculty who agree that a GSA has a place in your school.  Find out how the process of proposing a club works, follow it exactly, and dot every i and cross every t.  When you present your case, be sure that you are well-spoken and mature.  Don’t give anyone a reason to shut you down on a technicality.
  • Back it up.  Support yourself with news articles, studies, and student opinions.  Collect student testimonies regarding their treatment of or as LGBTQ individuals, even if they have to be presented anonymously.  If student responses are extremely negative, these can still be used in your favor if you present them as evidence of a hostile climate.
  • Make yourself informed and connected.  National organizations like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network offer advice, support, and information that will help you in your efforts.  The Gay-Straight Alliance Network is specific to California, but is useful for everyone.  But your greatest resources will be local — look for your local LGBTQ community center, network, or organization.  It may take some friend-of-a-friend inquiries or serious Google maneuvering if it flies under the radar, but it might be your greatest direct means of support.
  • Find allies whether they be students, faculty, or staff; peers in GSAs from other schools; or outside organizations.  They can give you resources, from powerful support to a hug at the end of the day.
  • Don’t give up.  Telling someone not to get discouraged is like telling them to be perfect.  Some students and faculty get the okay right away, while others struggle for years and find themselves mired in national legal and political battles.  The important part is to stand your ground.  Remember why you’re doing this, and be certain that it’s going to affect lives for the better.  

(That seemed like a longer response than you might have expected.  I might have gotten carried away…but it was such a good question.)

Filed under education lgbtq gsa gay straight alliance