Beginning this past weekend, 30 students from 14 states and 22 institutions attended HRC's HBCU LGBT Leadership and Career Summit. The annual summit is part of a yearlong effort that fosters an effective group of LGBT student leaders at HBCUs.
LGBTQ youth experience relentless physical and verbal harassment, and now, with online bullying, there is no escape. It is 24/7. If LGBTQ youth aren't safe at home, and they aren't safe in their place of worship, shouldn't they be safe at school?
These groundbreaking anti-bullying trainings, called "LGBTQ on Campus" for both students and staff in higher education, help more people build the skills they need to create safe higher education environments and improve outcomes for vulnerable students.
When I give presentations at schools, I am always looking for Tyler in the crowd. I guess some part of my mind still thinks I can save him. Ultimately I cannot. But every time I tell the story, I meet at least one person who reminds me that there are others who need to know that they are not alone.
According to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago, nearly nine out of 10 parents want to make schools better for LGBT students. Nearly everyone is on board with schools addressing LGBT issues, including parents in rural areas and parents who identify as evangelical Christians.
Even in a world where our Supreme Court offers "a new perspective, new insight" on questions of sexual and gender differences, some students still are estranged from their families due to their sexual orientation or gender identity -- students who would be forced to drop out of school without help.
When students are bullied or don't feel safe in school, they cannot perform their best or simply don't come, and indeed, higher rates of truancy and lower GPAs have been documented among LGBT students.
Our young LGBTQA youth (gay and straight for short) don't have family support and often don't have a place to live, but they are trying to continue with their education. So, child-sized backpacks and boxes of crayons aren't enough to get them on their way.
My college has appointed James Tengatenga, the diocesan bishop of southern Malawi, to a leadership position as "the moral spokesperson of the College." However, it is clear that the welfare of LGBT people is not a view that he holds.
In late June in Buenos Aires, the U.S.'s leading LGBT youth and education advocacy group, GLSEN, and UNESCO hosted a historic convening of groups from 20 countries to discuss cutting-edge research and activism that supports the lives of LGBT youth in K-12 schools globally.
We know that signs and parties in stores, and commercials on television, will not end hate and discrimination. We recognize that real and lasting progress takes years, not months. But by supporting GLSEN's work, we can help ensure safe schools and communities for many more students.
I want to applaud them and suggest that Jesus would be proud of them. They understand Jesus' "third way" of nonviolent resistance to oppression and exclusion, and they are living this approach out, loud and proud.