[Excerpt from pages 7-8] On the national Day of Silence last April, I visited Daniel Webster Middle School in Los Angeles, one of 21 middle schools in California with a G.S.A. California is one of only 12 states that have passed laws to protect students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Data from a 2007 survey commissioned by the San Francisco Unified School District indicate that homophobic remarks are made frequently in schools citywide, regardless of neighborhood, an analysis by the Bay Area Reporter shows.
The survey results also show that teachers and staff often do not intervene when such comments are made.
But changes appear to be happening.
In 2007, students in grades 5-12 were presented with a school climate survey that asked them about violence and harassment, among other things.
Back-to-school time can be fraught with tension for many parents as we realize our children’s shoes are too small, they need new knapsacks, and for reasons that surpass understanding, a perfectly working locker padlock somehow isn’t cool enough to be acceptable this year.
For LGBT parents, there is an additional concern about how our children’s new teachers and classmates will react to knowing our kids have LGBT moms or dads. Do you approach teachers and school administrators beforehand to inform them about your family and detect any potential problems?
LA MIRADA — Edy Ruvalcaba, a 16-year-old junior at La Mirada High School, says he was verbally harassed and called "faggot" by some of his physical education classmates after he told them he is gay.
Ruvalcaba also says he was physically abused after his announcement in February. At least one student in the class shoved Ruvalcaba against a gym-room locker.
Ominous clouds did not deter the more than 300 LGBT young people and others who marched through the streets of Los Angeles on March 22 to demand an end to discrimination, homophobia, abuse and homelessness.
The "Youth March for Equality," which started in Chinatown, continued down historic Olvera Street and ended at Los Angeles City Hall. Equality Action assisted march organizers with securing permits, supplies, marketing and volunteer. And both it and the Gay Straight Alliance Network sponsored the event.
This Thursday, Feb. 12 marks the first anniversary of the school shooting that tragically claimed the life of openly gay, gender nonconforming eighth-grader Lawrence King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, CA last year.
Students are preparing to remember and honor King, who according to classmates was regularly harassed because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. King, who sometimes wore makeup to school, was brutally murdered by a male classmate. Allegedly King had asked the student to be his valentine.
“It was really different back in the 1950s.” Phyllis Lyon’s words echoed around the auditorium where more than 400 middle and high school students sat listening to her talk about moving to the Castro district of San Francisco with her late wife Del Martin in 1955 and founding the Daughters of Bilitis. She recounted getting a phone call from one of the few lesbians the pair had met. “Do you want to come to a meeting?” the woman had asked. “A few of us want to start a secret lesbian society,” Lyon stage whispered, at which the crowd of teens went wild with cheers and applause.
Melissa Crutcher looked around in disbelief, as she marched into Oxnard's Plaza Park on a Saturday in February, days after eighth-grader Larry King was shot inside his junior high classroom nearby.
Close to 1,000 people had joined her on a three-mile march in his honor, and when the crowd emptied into the park, she asked everyone to make a circle. There were so many people that we couldnt even fit everyone, she said. I was amazed, shocked.
SAN FRANCISCO - Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the news, according to a new study.
The way in which parents or guardians respond to a youth's sexual orientation profoundly influences the child's mental health as an adult, say researchers at San Francisco State University. The findings appear in the January issue of Pediatrics and are being released Monday.
Student advocates from across California will participate in Queer Youth Advocacy Day 2008, a three-day youth leadership summit co-sponsored by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Equality California Institute, Transgender Law Center and BIENESTAR. GLBT youth leaders and their allies will hold a press conference at the Sacramento, Calif., on May 5, nearly three months after the tragic death of Lawrence “Larry” King, who was shot in the head by a classmate at his Oxnard middle school.