You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
Daniel Pillai’s He/She Project Growing up in a traditional south Asian community in Canada, Daniel Pillai didn’t quite fit in. “There was an inherent non-acceptance to who I was and how I acted,” he says. “I stuck out like a sore thumb.” Pillai spent his childhood in what he calls a “conservative atmosphere,” surrounded by […]
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How Do We Stop LGBT Bullying?
A young man’s recent suicide in Wyoming following years of anti-gay bullying and harassment has drawn national attention to the abuse faced by young members of the LGBT community, but his tragic story is unfortunately not unique. In fact, according to a recent study, 86 percent of LGBT youth reported being bullied or harassed at school, a number more than three times higher than the national average. Bullying has widespread negative effects on LGBT youth, leading to increased rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
86% of #LGBTyouth reported being bullied or harassed at school, 3 times the average. Click To Tweet
LGBT Bullying Is a Global Issue
LGBT bullying isn’t just an American, issue, either, and while countries across the world are seeking ways to protect LGBT students from abuse, vocal anti-LGBT protesters are opposing measures to extend protections and create safe spaces for LGBT youth. In May of 2016, Ministers of Education will gather for a UNESCO summit focused on preventing LGBT bullying. The summit will provide educators and administrators the tools they need to protect LGBT students and ensure that schools are safe for everyone.
Empowering Educators to Stop LGBT Bullying
One of the most vital steps in preventing LGBT bullying within schools is ensuring that educators understand the unique challenges LGBT students face every day. According to a recent report issued by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, teachers often don’t know where to begin when it comes to stopping bullying, intervening to protect students, or even knowing the discrimination and abuse LGBT students face. Several anti-bullying agencies and groups have begun to address this issue by developing “best practices” and tips for educators:
- Southern Poverty Law Center – Through its “Teaching Tolerance” materials, the center shares valuable information on inclusion and preventing bullying, ranging from including LGBT students in events like prom to establishing anti-bullying groups and ensuring that dress codes don’t discriminate against non-gender conforming students.
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network – GLSEN is another invaluable resource for teachers, providing materials that provide facts about the day-to-day realities for many LGBT students, methods to promote inclusion and tolerance and stop LGBT bullying, and lessons to teach about diversity and bullying in the classroom.
- UNESCO – While teachers may have the most direct impact on preventing LGBT bullying in school’s UNESCO publications, including From Insult to Inclusion, and its upcoming summit seek to shape policy and overall attitudes while influencing educators and administrators to adopt regulations to prevent LGBT bullying and promote inclusion.
Teacher education and training can go a long way toward preventing LGBT bullying and promoting tolerance, but it’s important to note that teachers can’t do it alone: parents need to be involved in teaching kids to respect diversity, while schools need to enact policies to ensure safety and respect for LGBT students.
#AntiBullying resources are available through @splcenter, @GLSEN, and @UNESCO. Click To Tweet
LGBT Bullying and “Safe Schools” Programs
Many schools and municipalities take further steps to prevent LGBT bullying and provide students with inclusive, safe spaces to learn and socialize: “Safe Schools” programs, which have been adopted in a number of countries and school districts, teach students about diversity, inclusion, and LGBT bullying through course materials specifically tailored toward various grade levels. These vital programs, however, often come under fire from anti-LGBT parents:
- Lawmaker Apathy – In the United States, PFLAG leads in supporting “Safe Schools” initiatives, but the unfortunate reality is that the political climate often means any widespread reform fails to gain much traction in legislatures, leaving individual schools and districts to try to enact protections and prevent LGBT bullying.
- Against Support – Schools and districts that adopt measures to prevent LGBT bullying and promote inclusion, like a new policy set forth by Michigan’s Board of Education, often come under fire from legislators and parents, even when those same policies find wide support from educators, administrators, and students.
- Homophobic Response – In Australia, where a comprehensive “Safe Schools” program has been widely adopted by schools, anti-LGBT parents and lawmakers are opposing course materials, claiming that they are inappropriate because they deal with issues of sexual orientation, while supporters of this vital program argue that opposition is based purely on homophobia.
“Safe Schools” programs provide common-sense, necessary support for teachers and students to ensure that schools are inclusive and free from bullying. Opposition to these programs is often misinformed, based on inaccurate information or prejudice, and largely backed by politicians or groups that are not primarily concerned with providing equal opportunities to learn and socialize for all students, but instead focused on blocking social progress.
#SafeSchools programs provide school support to boost inclusion and stop bullying. Click To Tweet
While it’s true that LGBT bullying can and often does occur outside of schools, it’s still important to recognize that building safe, inclusive spaces for education and socialization can have a major impact on long-term mental health and well-being for LGBT youth. We’d love to see more schools and districts adopt policies and educational materials that directly address LGBT bullying and make efforts to promote safe and inclusive schools.