National Day of Silence (April 11, 2014)

04/2014

Many youth who are identified (by themselves or by others) as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) are routinely subjected to name-calling, bullying, and other forms of harassment. And even LGBTQ allies may be victimized. Underlying these behaviors can be discrimination and hate—which sometimes leads to violence. According to the 2011 National School Climate Survey —a study conducted by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) that surveyed 8,584 middle and high school students—eight out of ten of LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the previous year. Nearly six in ten (63.5 percent) of LGBT students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and four in ten (43.9 percent) said they felt unsafe because of their gender expression. The 2011 NSCS will provide useful information to advocates, educators, and policymakers that will enhance their efforts to create safe and affirming schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The Day of Silence is a student effort to protest harassment, discrimination, and hate. Participating students, led by GLSEN, will hand out cards that read the following:

"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?"

For information on the Day of Silence, visit http://www.dayofsilence.org

In support of the goals of the National Day of Silence, the NCTSN has compiled a list of resources for educators, mental health and child welfare professionals, parents and caregivers, and youth.

Page Contents:

Featured NCTSN Products

Child Sexual Abuse Speaker Series
One of the online training presentations in NCTSN’s Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma that features many experts in the field. Topics include: how to identify issues of risk, challenge, and strength specific to LGBTQ youth and young adults; how to develop strategies that balance personal beliefs with professional responsibilities; how to increase knowledge of and empathy for the unique stressors experienced by sexual- and gender-minority youth, their families, and caregivers; and how to better understand what is involved in coming out and the ways that can impact youth.

Culture and Trauma Brief (vol 1, no 2): Trauma Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning Youth (2006) (PDF)
Facts and statistics about the LGBTQ community along with treatment recommendations.

Culture and Trauma Teleconference Series: Trauma Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (Audio file/PPT)
A presentation whose objectives were to: 1) raise awareness about the degree of vulnerability to abuse and neglect that LGBTQ adolescents face; 2) discuss the stages of sexual identity development as they relate to LGBTQ youth; 3) identify barriers faced by LGBTQ adolescents in coming to terms with their sexuality; and 4) provide concrete interventions that can assist LGBTQ youth in safely exploring their sexuality.

LGBTQ Youth and Sexual Abuse: Information for Mental Health Professionals (2014) (PDF)
The NCTSN Child Sexual Abuse Collaborative Group has published a 7-page tip sheet which mental health practitioners will find invaluable in their work with LGBTQ youth.
 

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For Educators

COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere)
A national movement of children, youth, and adults who have at least one “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ)” parent. Strives to “build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.”

GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
A national education organization whose mission is centered on creating safe schools for all students. Seeks to “develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community.” The website and additional resources focus on the acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or occupation. Includes information on GLSEN’s research and policymaking, plus tools and tips.

  • Safe Space Kit
    “Provides a program for action that school staff can take to create a positive learning environment for every student; shows how to assess the school's climate, policies and practices; outlines ways to advocate for change inside the school.” Includes the Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students, which provides “concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, including how to educate about anti-LGBT bias and teaching respect for all people.”

Mental Health America

  • Bullying and Gay Youth
    Explains risks to the mental health and physical well-being of GBLT youth; includes ways their education is being affected; offers suggestions to help end bullying in schools; includes additional resources.

 

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For Mental Health and Child Welfare Professionals

Advocates for Youth

  • The Impact of Homophobia and Racism on GLBTQ Youth of Color (2007) (PDF)
    A fact sheet geared to those who work with youth. Includes information on homophobia; explains additional challenges faced by youth of color including HIV, pregnancy, sexual violence, racism, and homelessness; and stresses the importance of culturally competent education and health care programs and services.

Health Imperatives

  • The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Support Project and Outhealth!
    An organization whose mission is to “ensure safe and supportive communities for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) youth, adults, and their families.” Provides training, technical support, resources, tools, and materials. Geared to health/human service providers and educators who work with youth and adults.

National Center for Cultural Competence

 

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For Parents and Caregivers

Family Equality Council (GLAD)
A “national organization that supports, represents and connects the 1 million parents in the United States who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and the 2 million children they are raising.”

  • Opening Doors: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Parents and Schools (2011) (PDF)
    Includes a list of facts and fears about LGBT-headed families; stories from children about what happens at school; what children need for a safe, supportive learning environment; what LGBT parents want for their children in school; how LGBT parents can help with their children’s education, and much more.
  • Talking to Children About Our Families (PDF) (2007)
    “Intended to support parents in responding to their children's (spoken and unspoken) questions as they come to understand who they are in the context of their family and who their family is in the context of their community.” Questions and answers presented are divided into three stages of child development (aged 3 and under, 4–7, and 8+).

(GLSEN) Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 
A national education organization whose mission is centered on creating safe schools for all students. Seeks to “develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community.” The website and additional resources focus on the acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or occupation. Includes information on GLSEN’s research and policymaking, plus tools and tips.

 

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For Youth

(GLAD) Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
A leading legal rights organization whose mission is to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

Safe Schools Coalition
An international public-private partnership in support of GLBT youth.

The Trevor Project
A national organization that provides “crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.”

  • Trevor Lifeline
    Confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth: 1-866-488-7386 (24/7, toll free)

 

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Related Links

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
A national organization dedicated to building the grassroots power of the LGBT community by strengthening local LGBT activism in rural areas, small towns, and cities across the nation.

 

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
A national nonprofit of 200,000+ members and supporters and 350+ affiliates in the US that “promotes the health and well-being of LGBT persons, their families, and friends through support, education, and advocacy.”

 

Youth Guardian Services
A youth-run nonprofit organization that provides support services on the Internet to GLBTQ and supportive youth.

 

YouthResource
A website by and for LGBTQ youth that “takes a holistic approach to sexual health and the exploration of issues of concern” to this population.

 

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