What is GLSEN?
GLSEN stands for “Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network”. GLSEN is the leading National organization fighting to end anti-gay bias and discrimination in K-12 schools.
GLSEN combats the harassment and discrimination leveled against students and school personnel. GLSEN creates learning environments that affirm the inherent dignity of all students, and, in so doing, teaches them to respect and accept all of their classmates-- regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. GLSEN believes that the key to ending anti-gay prejudice and hate-motivated violence is education. And it’s for this reason that GLSEN brings together students, educators, families and other community members--of any sexual orientation--to reform America’s educational system.
Thousands of volunteers participate in our national chapter network. These chapters work with local school boards, principals, educators and school librarians to create positive change in hometown schools.
Our public policy department works with elected officials and educational policy leaders at local, state and federal levels. The goal? Ensuring that basic protections are in place for GLBT students, teachers and families. We also bring GLBT education issues into the court of public opinion via public awareness campaigns and coalition building
Today’s students are tomorrow’s parents, neighbors and voters. That's why GLSEN creates groundbreaking teacher training materials and inclusive curricular resources. By ensuring that today’s teachers teach the lessons of respect for all, we ensure that the next generation of Americans will live in a world without anti-gay prejudice
GLSEN’s student organizing project provides support and resources to youth in even the most isolated of places. We support students as they form and lead gay-straight alliances--helping them to change their own school environments from the inside out.
What is GLSEN's vision? The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network envisions a future in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Don't Get Discouraged
Often, gay rights activist can get discouraged. But when you do, you find something that gets you going again. For example, the month of Feb. was very stressful, meeting with stuffy legislators and trying to get them to see things our way. GLSEN-KY had a couple of set backs as a group and we were all in need of a breath of fresh air. A couple of months earlier we had met a young man from Bowling Green that had been going through alot in school for two years. Because he is gay, he had to endure a great deal of anti-gay harassment with no help from administrators. We stepped in to help him and I am pleased to report that his school life has since improved greatly! The following is an excerpt of a letter that we received from him: “My life is going great thanks to you and everyone, school is going so much better and I owe all to you. For if you hadn’t come into my life, I would still be the same ’ol lonely M.M. You changed that and and have made me the happiest and proudest gay boy in the world.”
That is what it is all about! That is why I formed this group and that is why we all work so very hard to keep it going. There are just too many kids like M.M. for us to stop.
Gina Cooper, Pres.
Boy Scouts of America:
The Right To Discriminate
In March, GLSEN-KY launched a campaign that exposed area schools that have sponsorships with Boy Scouts of America. The Supreme Court decision allows the BSA to discriminate against gays and lesbians, and not allow them any association with the organization at all. However, it did not permit public schools or any other public places to discriminate by having Charters with the BSA.
Our efforts and others’ have been fueled by a letter that was written by a 12 year old boy that happened to see the wrong the BSA was doing.
The Letter That Inspired
The Scouting For ALL
The Courage of a brave Boy Scout
The Scout Law
Editor: I am 12 years old and a Life rank Boy Scout. I like Scouting a lot. My troop does a lot of outdoor activities. I am writing to you because I want people to know that the Boy Scouts of America is a great program but it won’t allow gay kids or grownups in scouting The Scout Law says a scout is true to his friends... nation... world community. This is not true when not everyone is included in that community. The ScoutLaw says a scout should be helpful. A scout should be concerned about other people. This is not true for the Boy Scouts of America when it bans gays or expels them when they are found out. The Scout Law says a scout should be friendly to all. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with different ideas and customs. This is not true when the BSA bans gay from scouting. The Scout Law says a scout should be kind. He should treat others as he would want to be treated. I don’t know anyone who wants to be discriminated against the way the BSA discriminates against gays. My dad and I were told we can’t even bring this issue up at our troop meeting with other scouts in our troop.
I hope to change this one bad thing about the BSA. I hope all of you who read this letter to the editor will want to help me in my efforts by calling Scouting For All at 707-778-0564. Gay kids should be allowed to be scouts. And I know kids who have gay dads would want their dads to be able to be an assistant scoutmaster like my dad.
Steven Cozza, Life Boy Scout
December 27, 1997
Steven and his dad started Scouting for
All. Check out their website at:
Lobbying In Frankfort
Written By: Jacob Barrett
On March 1 of 2001 GLSEN-KY with the help of KFA lobbied in Frankfort on Campus Day. We got up very early that morning and headed for the state capitol. We arrived at the capitol and meet with Matt Nicholson the Community Organizer for KFA. He briefed us on the happenings up to that point and told us what bills we were really going to hit hard that day. The main bills that we were working on and have been working on was HB 116.
HB 116 Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Stein and Co-sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, and Rep. Paul Bather. This bill would have strengthened the fairness in KY by prohibiting discrimination against GLBT people in the workplace, public accommodation, and housing. This bill would have been a real blessing to the GLBT community, Unfortunately the bill died in the committee and was not heard. What we are asking you the reader is to contact these Reps. and thank them for submitting the bill, but also to resubmit the bill in 2002. The Reps. e-mail addresses and phone numbers will be at the end of this section.
During the course of the day we had some good and bad experiences. The most memorable was a conversation that our very own Co-Chair Gina Cooper and Treasurer Shaun Asberry had with Rep. Bolwing. While Gina was explaining HB116 to Rep. Bolwing Rep. Lonnie Napier rudely and abruptly interrupted their conversation.
He came up to Rep. Bolwing looked at him and pointed his finger and stated “the problem is that every two of ‘our’ kind that you hire we would have to hire one of ‘their’ kind. Then when you hire them they are lazy and don’t want to work , so when you fire them they rally up all this support and get legal help and then they sue you.” That type of bigotry is untrue because all HB 116 does not state any thing about the hiring process, it just prevents you from not getting hired or being fired on the sole grounds that you are gay. You can be fired for any other reason. Rep. Lonnie Napier did not stop his rudeness and bigotry there. He went onto say that “ ‘You all’ would never have the majority in the house as long as he was in office.” Shaun Asberry then spoke up and stated that is ok you have to be re-elected. Rep. Napier stated that is ok he did not need ‘ Our kinds’ vote that his whole district felt the same way he did. He then proceeded to walk away from them, and Gina tried to ask him what his name was. He ignored her so she asked him once again. Rep Napier at that point turned around and said, “I am an elected official don’t take that tone with me.” He then walked off without giving his name, we later found out that is was Rep. Napier.
After reading that if you did not get a little hot under the collar then check yourself you might be dead. I am asking everyone that reads this article to call Rep. Napier's office and e-mail him.
Rep. Kathy Stein
Rep. Lonnie Napier
Why are you proud to be a part of GLSEN-KY?
Shaun Asbury 20 yrs. old
I’m proud to be a part of GLSEN-KY because being gay and young, I know how hard it is in this world, also having went to school for my last year as an openly gay student, I know the emotional strain and physical confrontation...to which I only got to 11th grade because of the violence I faced in my school and I will not stand for another student losing his/her education simply because he/she is different from what the world calls “norm”. Also, I’m a part of GLSEN-KY cause being young and gay, you don’t usually get a chance to make friends and bonds with other gay/lesbians which I get to do in GLSEN-KY. Here I have made some of the most wonderful friends and also a mother figure whom I can look up to(Gina).
Jessica Putman 17 yrs. old
First of all, because it is such a needed organization that does meaningful work. Without groups like GLSEN-KY, GLBTQ youth and adults would have no protection and wouldn’t have the courage to stand up for their rights as a person or speak up. And second of all, because I believe we have the best members any organization can have.
Jacob Barrett 20 yrs. old
Some of us go through life trying to figure out what their purpose in life is. I have finally found an organization that's sole purpose is to get people to live together in relative harmony, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation. I am very proud to be part of an organization that promotes peace, fairness, equality and justice, if needed. If you wanted these same goals, you too would be proud to be a part of this organization. Not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also because I have the opportunity to work with and call a friend to one of the most wonderful women I have ever met, Gina Cooper. She put her heart and soul and money into this group, regardless of public opinion. It isn’t any wonder why I live, eat and breath GLSEN-KY. I have had a good teacher. Thank you Gina for your love, compassion, caring, understanding and for being my friend. Jacob Barrett, Secretary, GLSEN-KY
Gina Cooper, Pres., GLSEN-KY
Wow Jacob! You really know how to touch a body’s heart. I am using the smaller print because I’m not sure there is enough pages to tell why I am proud to be a part of GLSEN-KY. I know they get tired me of calling them kids, but they are my kids. Each and every one of them are just as important to me as my own kids. And Jacob, you are a very vital part of our group and my family. I could never have done some of the things we have done without your help. You have been my right and left arm much of the time. It has certainly been a joy to work with you and to get to know the great person that you are. I enjoy working with all the kids in the group. I couldn’t have done it without the help of many of them, Shaun, Chris, Eric, Will, Jamie, Clayton, Jane, Ginger, Natalie, Matt, Claudia and Jessi and everyone else that I may not have mentioned here. Jacob and I have spent many long nights together reviewing new laws or checking out old ones and we have done a great deal of talking about ourselves and the world. Jacob, just in case you don’t know, I have learned a lot about you. You are a very good, decent young man. You will go far in life. Your constant passion for fairness will keep you going when you are down and if ya need to you can always call me for help or support. I love you Jacob and all my kids.