Gay-Straight Alliances vital in creating a safe and welcoming learning environment
Washington - The Human Rights Campaign, the nations' largest civil rights organization working toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, today applauded U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan for affirming the government's support of allowing Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) to form in every school across the country. Although the Equal Access Act has provided students the ability to form GSAs for nearly 30 years, some schools have ignored the law and denied students the right to form these student organizations. Secretary Duncan made the announcement at the Federal LGBT Youth Summit held June 6 -7th in Washington, DC, but followed the announcement with a "Dear Colleague" letter published today.
"Today's letter from Secretary Duncan reinforces the importance of gay-straight alliances in our nation's schools," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This is a clarion call to teachers and school administrators that they must welcome and respect LGBT students and their allies and create an environment conducive to learning for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Gay-Straight Alliances are powerful forces in our schools. Not only do they offer a safe and supportive environment for LGBT students but they allow straight allies to show their support. One of the most powerful impacts that a GSA can have, however, is on those students who aren't even members - the very existence of a GSA shows students who may still be coming to terms with their orientations that someone at their school cares.
Solmonese added, "The message is: schools must support LGBT students. They must allow LGBT students and allies to create support networks because, like all students, LGBT students have value. That message - spoken or unspoken - is a life-saver."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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