This past Monday evening, I attended a fantastic rally in Washington Square Park (New York City) organized by the National Campaign for Youth Shelter (NCYS). NCYS, a collaborative project of the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center, aims to bring greater national attention to youth homelessness.
A diverse and impressive group of speakers—including Edie Windsor, Carl Siciliano, the Reverend Melvin Miller, Wade Davis, Chris Bilal, Jennifer Louise Lopez, and David Mixner—spoke passionately about the challenges faced by homeless youth, including those who are LGBTQ, and about the need to protect and provide care for them. Junior Labeija, pictured above with Edie Windsor, emceed the event. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the rest of the post and to see the first four of the my thirteen videos from the rally.
There was great news last week for safe-schools and LGBT-equality advocates in Massachusetts, where the governor signed a measure strengthening the state’s anti-bullying law.
The many advocates who worked for the bill’s passage—including the organization Mass Equality and state Attorney General Martha Coakley—deserve wholehearted thanks and congratulations from those who believe in safe schools for all youth. Still, it’s worth pointing out an inaccuracy that appears in statements issued by the law’s supporters as well as in the media. Some advocates, journalists and bloggers have suggested that the law requires schools to single out specific groups, including LGBTQ students, for special protections. This is incorrect, though I recognize that the law may appear ambiguous on this point, at least at first glance.
Clarifying this issue may help prevent confusion among those who must work to implement the law; it may also help ensure that, moving forward, safe-schools advocates who favor inclusive policies don’t inadvertently feed into anti-LGBT talking points. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.
There’s been a bit of a flap in Lumberton, Texas, where school officials suspended transgender school teacher Laura Jane Klug after parents complained that she was a “distraction.” Fortunately, the school district appears now to have reinstated Ms. Klug, though the district says it has not made a final decision, and it has asked her not to come back right away to minimize distraction during a student testing period.
One parent concerned about Klug’s presence in the classroom reportedly said, “Each parent has the individual liberty, individual rights to determine at what age it is appropriate for their children to be exposed to certain things.”
Actually, no. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.
Safe-schools advocates and LGBT-equality supporters can celebrate in Minnesota: The state legislature has approved the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a major expansion of the state’s safe schools law. The governor plans to sign the bill today.
[UPDATE: Twitter has lit up with the news that the governor has signed the Act into law. Per the Act’s own terms, some parts of the law will take effect tomorrow (Thursday), other parts in July, and other parts by the start of the next school year. The Pioneer Press provides an additional update here.]
The Act requires school districts to enact anti-bullying policies, and it defines bullying to include, among other things, intimidating and abusive conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.