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Voices Out of the Silence

Day of Silence 2015

Today is the Day of Silence, when many students from middle school to college choose not to speak, in order to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment. LGBTQ youth and those with LGBTQ parents still face challenges—but there are slow changes for the better.


Does Your State Ban Talk of LGBTQ Issues in Classrooms?

Don't Erase Us

I wrote yesterday about anti-LGBT discrimination in schools — and was happy to learn later about a new campaign to address “no promo homo” laws that forbid discussion of LGBT issues in classrooms.


Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Education, from Preschool On


A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) highlights anti-LGBT discrimination in education, from preschool through college.


For LGBT Students, School Is Often Still Hostile, but Getting Better

LGBT Students Discrimination - GLSEN

LGBT students in the United States report high levels of victimization and discrimination, although things are slowly getting better, according to a new report.


12-Year-Old with Two Moms Makes Film About Bullying

Equation of Life

Gerry Orz is a 12-year-old living with his two moms and older brother. He’s just made a short film about a boy with two moms who is bullied by a classmate — a reflection of his own experience. This is the second such film he’s made — the first was when he was only nine! Watch a trailer and learn more about his ongoing activism.


Spirit Day: Can a Color Stop a Bully?


Today is Spirit Day, a time to take a stand against bullying and show support for LGBTQ youth. Not all LGBTQ youth are bullied, of course, and not all victims of bullies are LGBTQ — but anti-LGBTQ harassment is still pervasive, even if things are slowly getting better.


A Gay-Straight Alliance in Middle School? Yes!


This fall, my son started middle school, that land of greater independence, the beginnings of puberty, and a bigger and not necessarily all LGBT-friendly student population. I was therefore thrilled to see that LGBT legal advocacy group GLAD has launched a new campaign to encourage the creation of more gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in middle schools.


Back-to-School ABCs for LGBTQs


My son is about to start middle school. I’m excited to shop for school supplies with him and thrilled that he’s growing and learning — but like many parents, I also wonder what the school year will have in store for him.


Back-to-School Resources for LGBTQ Parents

Pride Flag School Bus

This is the time of year when I look at the calendar and put a pillow over my head. The start of school can’t be just around the corner. Any parent of school-age children may feel similarly, but we LGBTQ parents may feel extra pressure not knowing if our children’s teachers and classmates will be welcoming to our families. Here are some resources that may help you work constructively with schools and teachers in the year ahead.


The Children’s Film with Same-Sex Parents That Robin Williams Helped Launch

That's a Family - Lesbian Moms

Among the little-known deeds of comedian Robin Williams, mourned by many of us this week, is that he helped launch a groundbreaking children’s film that included same-sex parents.


Another School Shooting: When Will We Have Had Enough?

My thoughts go out today to the community of Troutdale, Oregon, where a student and a suspected shooter are both dead after the later opened fire at Reynolds High School. When 27 people died after a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut two years ago, ABC News reported that there had been 31 school shootings since the one in Columbine, Colorado in 1999. Now, we learn that there have been 74 school shootings since Newtown. How many is too many?


An Open Letter of Appreciation to LGBTQ-Friendly Teachers


It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so here’s an open letter to all of the many LGBTQ-inclusive and welcoming teachers out there.


A Day of Silence Loud and Clear


Today is the Day of Silence, when students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment. Once again, the day reminds me both of the challenges that still remain for LGBTQ youth and those with LGBTQ parents and of the amazing strides they’ve made since I was that age.


Cosmos Shows How to Do Equity

M94. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

I admit it. I’m an unabashed fan of Cosmos. The original version of the science show won my heart during my teen years, and was in large part responsible for my becoming an astronomy major in college (and then going on to study medieval cosmology in grad school). I was skeptical of the recent reboot, just because reboots are always iffy — but it has won my heart, not only for its science, but for its seamless effort towards equity.


Watch: TED Ed Kids’ Videos Show Inclusive History of Marriage — and Two Girls in Love


TED Ed, the educational branch of the organization that puts on the thought-provoking TED Talks, recently posted a five-minute video on “The History of Marriage” that is wonderfully inclusive of same-sex couples and aimed at anyone from older elementary kids to adults. I thought I couldn’t be more excited about their videos — and then I saw another, on a topic I couldn’t have guessed, that is seamlessly inclusive of a same-sex romance. I may even love this second one more.


Preschool Choice Among Same-Sex Parents: Diversity Awareness Matters


Although there is an increasing amount of research on the general well-being of children with same-sex parents, little has been done that looks at the parents’ experience in school settings. The few existing studies have focused on elementary schools. A new study, however, seeks to broaden our understanding by looking at the considerations of both same-sex and different-sex adoptive parents when choosing a preschool.


Happy 10th Anniversary, No Name-Calling Week!


In addition to celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week, it’s also a time to observe No Name-Calling Week, “one of the largest bullying-prevention initiatives in the country.”


Federal Financial Aid Forms to Recognize Married Same-Sex Parents


The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it will recognize a student or a parent as legally married if they were legally married in any jurisdiction that recognizes the marriage, regardless of the gender of the spouses, where they live, or where they are attending school.


Think Kids Don’t Understand Marriage Equality? Think Again


Think kids will be “confused” or harmed by learning that same-sex couples can marry? Think again. This delightful video from The Fine Bros “Kids React” series shows children ages 5 to 13 responding to viral videos of marriage proposals of same-sex couples — and clearly, most of them are not only okay with it, but excited for the couples. They give me hope for the future.


4 Things LGBT Parents Can Do to Prepare Our Children for the School Year


My son starts fifth grade today, making me one of the millions of LGBT parents seeing our kids off to school this time of year. For many of us, the new school year brings with it once again the question of how accepting and inclusive our children’s teachers and classmates will be. Here are four things we can do to prepare our children and ourselves for the coming year.


Back-to-School LGBT Parents Poll


School days are just around the corner for many of our kids. What are your top concerns going into this new year? Or is back-to-school time all good? Feel free to expand on your thoughts further in the comments.


Back-to-School Resources for LGBT Parents

Back-to-school time is here, which means it’s time for my annual back-to-school resource post, a tradition I first started in 2006, before my own son was even in school. He’s grown and changed, and so has this list. I hope it remains useful, whether your children are just entering school, starting a new school, or encountering new issues along their educational journey.


Boy with Two Moms Stands Up Against Bullies


Eleven-year-old Caine was physically and verbally bullied because he has long hair and two moms. He spoke out to his school superintendent and board about it, citing the support of his family, and asking them what they intend to do “to ensure we all feel safe in your schools.”


Good News or Bad News for Children of Same-Sex Parents Applying for Financial Aid?


There was good news and bad news yesterday for same-sex parents of children in or soon-to-be in college: Starting with the 2014-2015 federal student aid form, the U.S. Department of Education will ask for information about a dependent student’s legal parents regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, as long as the parents live together. That’s good news, in that it will be the first time the form reflects the actualities of same-sex parents’ families (and those of unmarried, opposite-sex parents). It’s bad news, in that some students may receive less aid now that both parents’ contributions will be recognized—or will they?


To End the Silence


Today marks the 16th annual Day of Silence, an event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. But a federal bill reintroduced yesterday that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination, harassment, bullying, and violence in public schools faces a tough road ahead.