GLSEN Meets with Education Secretary

26 03 2009


Thanks to our local fabulous GLSEN representatives for the heads up…

From the National GLSEN blog:

In an historic first, GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard and a delegation of students and teachers met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan today to discuss the importance of anti-bullying efforts to the Administration’s education reform agenda.

Secretary Duncan affirmed a commitment to make schools safe for every student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

“It was moving to witness these students and teachers sharing their personal stories of pain, rejection, resilience and hope with the nation’s top education official,” Byard said. “Secretary Duncan showed great compassion for their experiences, respect for their perseverance and dedication to identifying effective responses to school climate issues. I am confident that we will see growing engagement with these issues at the Department of Education and truly positive change.”

Secretary Duncan also expressed an interest in finding ways to highlight the problem of bullying and harassment in national discussions about education, and requested further data on a number of proposed interventions.

Can I just say: thank God.

I think my own experience was lucky, growing up in South Carolina. I think my school accepted it fairly well when I came out my freshman year. It was not as… well, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Sure, I was called fag; sure, I had a rock thrown at me (a theme in my life, it seems); sure, I was asked not to turn around in the gym locker room so I couldn’t “look at us [the boys].”

Blah, blah, blah. But by the time I was a senior, it was almost normal — gay Barry.

But a lot of people have it worse. A lot, a lot of people. And I’m glad that the Obama administration is open to the discussion. Thank you, GLSEN.

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