by Jared Todd •
The LGBTQ+ community, particularly youth, face enormous challenges today. We are living in a time when LGBTQ+ youth aren’t allowed to just be kids – they’re the focus of a hate-filled strategy that tries to put legislators in the drivers’ seat in determining where kids can play sports, what kind of health care they can receive, and even which bathrooms they can use. This unprecedented wave of hate continues to be felt and seen by LGBTQ+ youth, especially transgender and nonbinary youth, from statehouses to major social media platforms.
We need to do more for our kids at this moment. That’s why the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools partnered with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to bring productive conversations about identity-based bullying to the forefront.
With the passage of book bans and “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” laws, it’s more important than ever to make sure our kids have welcoming and inclusive environments where they can learn and thrive, exactly as they are. Sadly, there just aren’t enough resources out there that center youth voices and offer anti-bullying guidance for educators and other youth-serving adults.
That’s where Welcoming Schools and ADL come in. The team, led by HRC’s Cheryl Greene and ADL’s Caterina Rodriguez, have released a new video that uplifts diverse student voices and highlights they’re concerns and suggestions for the adults in their lives. The purpose is to engage in tough but necessary conversations that can help educators prevent bullying that targets young people based on their identities.
Paired with the video are a few resources for educators:
A 45-minute educator training focused on navigating responses to identity-based bullying, with a clear focus on transgender and non-binary youth
Here’s what youth had to say:
“The bullying I experienced was mainly behind my back,” Ve’ondre (she/her), 18, shares in the video. “The reason I do what I do with social media and advocacy work on social media is because there was a lack of education within the school system for queer history and queer people in general. There’s not a lot of representation.”
“I think that what students really want from teachers is they want to feel safe. And they want to feel like they belong and they want to know that there’s someone who will always be on their side and look out for them.” - Chloe (she/her), 17
Julia, 17, opened up about the antisemitism she’s experienced at her school, including peers telling inappropriate Holocaust jokes: “When the kid that draws the swastika gets expelled from school, I don’t feel safe. I feel safer when the adults in my building are dedicated to remedying the issue completely – they’re paying attention to the impact that that had on Jewish students and they’re focused on making the climate of the school more productive in the future.”
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