GLAD Promotes the Creation of Middle School GSAs with New Video & Online Resources

glad_revBOSTON, Mass.—Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders today launched a campaign to encourage the creation of more gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in middle schools across Massachusetts and in New England.

“Young people are coming out at a younger and younger age,” said Vickie Henry, director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative.  “It’s critical to have resources in place to support them and to educate their peers, so they can go through coming out safely and in a positive way.” [pullquote]“Young people are coming out at a younger and younger age,” said Vickie Henry, director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative.  “It’s critical to have resources in place to support them and to educate their peers, so they can go through coming out safely and in a positive way.”[/pullquote]

GSAs Can Make It Better is a one-minute video created to be shared online and shown in schools, at conferences, and as part of workshops.  It outlines the documented benefits of GSAs, including the role they play in cutting down on transphobic and homophobic remarks; helping transgender and gender non-conforming students feel safer; and educating teachers, administrators and students about LGBTQ issues.

The video and resources, including a primer on the right to form GSAs, can be viewed at www.GLADAnswers.org/gsa.

GLAD has partnered with Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY, Inc.), GLSEN Massachusetts, Greater Boston PFLAG, Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, and True Colors: Out Youth Theater and the Theater Offensive to create the campaign.

LGBT middle school students are significantly more likely than their high school peers to experience verbal and physical harassment and assault, with 35.5% of middle school students reporting regular physical harassment compared to 21.4% of high school students. Yet while 52.6% of LGBT high school youth have access to a GSA, only 6.3% of LGBT middle school youth do. [pullquote]LGBT middle school students are significantly more likely than their high school peers to experience verbal and physical harassment and assault, with 35.5% of middle school students reporting regular physical harassment compared to 21.4% of high school students.[/pullquote]

Throughout the school year, GLAD will be making available online content that educates and encourages the creation of middle school GSAs.  GLAD will also provide assistance to any students who are having difficulty forming a GSA due to their school administration’s resistance or who believe their school is not treating an existing GSA the same as any other club.

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

[From a News Release]

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