Feb 8, 2021
Education Policy: February Newsletter
A Message from Rebby
When I was growing up I didn’t have educators who looked like or shared lived experiences as me. That meant I often left pieces of my identity at the door. Today, I celebrate that Vice President Kamala Harris not only looks like me but sees me for all of who I am. My pronouns are reflected on the White House Website. My racial identity is reflected in power inside of the White House. For the first time ever there are three Black executive Directors of national LGBTQ organizations.
It is my hope that schools reflect these truths. That young people have access to a relatable curriculum that not only reflects who they are but also uplifts their unique experiences. Our QTBIPOC youth deserve to be celebrated. So on this Black History Month let’s honor the present and celebrate the future. Join Equality NC in honoring Black Future Month as we honor Madame Vice President Auntie, the incomparable Stacy Adams, and the powerful Black leaders who are making history by living their futures.
Rebby Kern (they/them)
Education Policy Director
Get To Know the 2021 Rural Youth Empowerment Fellows
The Rural Youth Empowerment (RYE) Fellowship is a year-long mentorship and training program for LGBTQ young people in rural areas of North Carolina. The program supports RYE Fellows in successfully executing a social justice project serving rural communities while developing leadership skills. Head here to meet our new class of fellows and learn more about the program!
GSA Day for Racial Justice (#GSADay4RJ) is an annual day of action to mobilize for racial justice and celebrate multiple identities held by LGBTQ+ youth. It is hosted by the GSA Network National Youth Council. Our theme this year for #GSADay4RJ is Police Free Schools and we call on GSAs and allies to discuss, envision and advocate for safe spaces where trans and queer youth can thrive and grow in their education. Learn how to participate here.
I am Jazz and Friends Community Book Readings
After a national anti-LGBTQ hate group bullied a young transgender girl in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, her community rallied behind her by hosting a community reading of "I Am Jazz" by transgender advocate Jazz Jennings. Every year, in honor of the Mount Horeb community’s allyship, communities across the country join HRC's Welcoming Schools program for its annual Jazz & Friends National Day of School and Community Readings in support of transgender and non-binary youth. Want to host a reading? Head here.
As 2021 state legislative sessions begin to convene, several state legislatures will consider legislation in 2021 that has the potential to impact the ability of young people to receive advanced sex education and to access reproductive and sexual health services. The SIECUS’ 2021 State of Sex Education Legislative Overview highlights the numerous opportunities to advance policies on both the state and national level and to grow local and national public support to influence the next 4+ years regarding comprehensive sex education. Head here to read the SIECUS Legislative Overview
The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the lives of people around the world, with detrimental impacts on not only physical health but also mental health. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns have arisen around potential increases in suicide risk, particularly among marginalized populations. Prior to the pandemic, LGBTQ youth have been found to be at significantly greater risk for seriously considering and attempting suicide. More research will continue to be conducted, but it is important that current conversations around Covid-19 and suicide risk be evidence-based and data-informed. This brief reviews existing research and data on the association between the Covid-19 pandemic and suicide risk, including as it relates to risk among LGBTQ youth.
GLSEN's 2019 National School Climate Survey State Snapshots
GLSEN's State Snapshots are used to examine the school experiences of LGBTQ middle and high school students, including hearing biased language, experiences of victimization, incidents of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and access to resources and supports at school.
This state-specific data allows advocates, educators, administrators, and policymakers, among others, to evaluate school climate in their individual state, and to advocate for safer and more inclusive school environments for LGBTQ students across the nation, including LGBTQ-supportive school policies, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, and more.
- LGBTQ Youth and School Pushout – GSA Network & Crossroads Collaborative (report)
- UNJUST: LGBTQ Youth Incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System
- #GSAs4Justice Campaign
- Black and Pink (website)
- Dignity in Schools Campaign (website)
National LGBTQ Task Force 2021 Sex Ed Leadership Cohort
In 2021, the National LGBTQ Task Force will launch its third iteration of the Sex Ed Leadership Project, which aims to strengthen local efforts by young LGBTQ people to advocate for sex ed policy changes. This year, the project will be a virtual course consisting of ten sessions designed to deepen advocacy skills and focus on navigating democratic processes to enact sex ed policy change.