Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Top Ten Ways to Make Schools Safe For Kids

For too many of our children, the thought of heading back to school in the fall can be a frightening experience. A recent GLSEN study found that eight out of ten lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students experience some form of mistreatment in school. LGBT youth, and those perceived to be LGBT, endure constant bullying, harassment, and discrimination: in the classroom, hallways, locker rooms and on the bus. 
Visit www.pflag.org/safeschoolsfor more information
But bullying is more than disturbing; it is also dangerous and disruptive. When students feel unsafe at school, they are also unable to learn. And that means that this isn't just an issue for the parents of LGBT kids , but for ALL families. Bullying disrupts classrooms, prevents learning...and creates an atmosphere that is unhealthy for all kids.
As parents, families, friends, and allies we need to do something to make schools safer for ALL students.


How does PFLAG make a difference? By working directly with schools in communities all over the country, providing support, resources, training, model policy and creative programs to create an environment of respect that makes schools safe for all children.


How can you help? Here are the top ten ways you can find support, get education, and become an advocate for safe schools:

  1. Learn the Facts - Students who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender—LGBT—are at a higher risk for depression, self-harm, and dropping out of school.
  2. Understand the Language - Using respectful and appropriate language is an important benchmark to set a tone of respect and understanding.
  3. Stop Bad Behavior - Don’t ignore or excuse discriminatory behaviors or harassment, and don’t be immobilized by fear: Not taking action can endanger students and make the classroom unsafe.
  4. Set the Policy - A strong and inclusive anti-harassment policy not only protects students; it also protects the school.
  5. Plan School-Wide Activities - Showing films, reading books, and planning schoolwide activities offers opportunities for everyone to learn and participate. These programs help build community, empathy and understanding.
  6. Be Public - Adults should go public with their support for diversity, and oppose bullying and harassment. Signs, stickers and other public displays tell youth that their diversity is welcomed, supported, and protected.
  7. Address Cyber Bullying - Take cyber-bullying seriously. Add cyber bullying to existing anti-harassment or bullying policies, and help provide training and education for students, teachers and parents.
  8. Train and Educate Everyone - It is imperative that every adult—parents, teachers, administrators—is trained to respond to bullying in ways that support every student.
  9. Work for Comprehensive Health Education - Youth must have a clear understanding of their bodies, and health, in order to respect themselves and their classmates.
  10. Provide Resources - Learn more about our partners and resources.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

PFLAG National Statement on House Decision to Drop Defense of DOMA

PFLAG National Executive Director Jody Huckaby had the following to say, regarding the news that House Leaders would no longer seek to defend DOMA or similar statutes in court:
"PFLAG National applauds the decision by House leaders to drop their defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and similar statutes. Equality doesn’t require a particular political affiliation, and making a legal commitment to the person we love isn’t a partisan issue. Love, family, commitment - these are human values, rooted simply in the desire to make a deep, lasting, committed connection to another human being.  Coupled with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in U.S. v.Windsor, this is a huge step toward equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones and their families."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PFLAG National Statement on ENDA's Passage Out of Senate HELP Committee


"Today we are one step closer to seeing our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones protected in the workplace. Whether it is the opportunity to interview and be hired, retain a job, or be afforded the opportunity for a promotion, this first step towards passage of the inclusive Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA) will ensure that our families are protected. We thank those Senators who worked so diligently to pass ENDA out of committee today, and look forward to working with our elected officials who believe in fairness to get this legislation passed when it comes to the Senate floor." 

- Jody Huckaby, Executive Direction, PFLAG National 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ENDA Mark-Up Tomorrow!

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815) (ENDA) is being marked up and voted on in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee tomorrow!Wednesday, July 10.

Please call or email your U.S. Senators today to urge them to cosponsor and vote for this important piece of workplace legislation, which was introduced in the Senate on April 25, 2013 by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Courtesy of PFAW.org
This bipartisan, bicameral bill prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and would give all Americans the same workplace protections. The bill includes business-friendly exemptions for small businesses, while many larger companies today are already implementing protections similar to or the same as ENDA.

Everyone in our families--whether, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight--should have the same opportunities to be interviewed, hired, employed, and promoted based exclusively on merit; this is what ENDA would deliver. The President agrees and has said, on the record, that he will sign ENDA into law.

Find out if your Senators are already cosponsors. Thank them if they are! If they haven’t yet signed on, invite them to cosponsor.

Regardless, urge them to vote for ENDA when presented for a vote, both as a HELP Committee member and later this year when the full Senate votes.

And to learn about all of the amazing work that PFLAG is doing in companies and corporations across the country, visit www.straightforequality.org/workplace.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

PFLAG National Congratulates Sodexo for LGBT Conversation Guide Innovation Award

PFLAG National celebrated the announcement of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2013 Innovation Award honorees, in which Sodexo’s LGBTA Conversation Guide was named one of the top 10 innovations for the year.

The project – a collaborative effort by Sodexo, PFLAG National, and Buck Davis & Company – offers managers throughout the organization a web-based learning tool to increase cultural competency around LGBT issues, offer guidance in navigating critical workplace conversations, and an opportunity to identify themselves as an Open Leader in the organization, ready to discuss the topic with colleagues.

“Sodexo is on the cutting-edge of diversity and inclusion work,” said Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “From their perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index, to their engagement of straight allies which earned them PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality in the Workplace Award in 2010, they have accomplished so much in the LGBT space. The LGBT Conversation Guide is another way to deepen this work; PFLAG National is proud to have been a lead collaborator.”

PFLAG National, through its Equality & Diversity Partnerships team, brought key expertise to the effort, leveraging the personal stories of Sodexo employees as the starting point to illustrate critical learning elements, including understanding terminology and culture, learning how to have culture-changing conversations, getting clarity on policies and laws, and “coming out” as an Open Leader.

“This multimedia resource offered PFLAG the opportunity to go beyond providing training to working with Sodexo to create a broadly accessible, interactive, and engaging way to work towards ensuring that inclusion of LGBT employees and their allies happens at every level of the organization. This is what innovation in inclusion is all about,” said Huckaby.

Click here to learn more about the award on the Profiles in Diversity Journal website

You can also get more information about PFLAG’s LGBTA inclusion efforts in the workplace through its Straight for Equality project by visiting www.straightforequality.org/workplace.