But compliance with the FAIR Act requires persistence, watchdog vigilance and plans to push for local agencies to allocate funding for programs under Brown’s new budget plan.
“GSAs across the state have been working with teachers and administrators to ensure that the FAIR Education Act is implemented in their schools,” Laub said. “Our Statewide Advocacy Council, a group of approximately 20 youth leaders, has made implementation a priority this year and helped in the development of several resources for students to use in their schools.”
Laub cites Caitlin Owens-Garrett, a student on GSA Network’s Statewide Advocacy Council, as an example. “A junior at Sanger High School in the Central Valley, Caitlin strategized with her GSA advisor at the beginning of the school year about how they could ensure Sanger followed the updated education guidelines. They started by publicly celebrating LGBT History Month, educating teachers about the law and showing them that LGBT people are a part of American history. Soon Caitlin’s U.S. History teacher approached her and asked for her help in putting together a presentation for the class about LGBT people in history. Her teacher not only gave the presentation in class but also sent it out to the entire history department to use.
“We’re at a pivotal moment in the LGBT movement, and it is essential that we invest in our young people now. While attitudes are changing and youth are leading the way, we’re still failing our young people on the most basic levels,” Laub concluded. “LGBTQ youth—and particularly low-income LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth of color—face enormous challenges simply to stay in school and get an education. We must address the lack of funding for education, biased policies and administrators and the systemic criminalization of youth if we are to continue the movement for social justice and equality for all LGBTQ people.”
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