Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 2, 2010

What to do

It’s been a horrific kick-off to the 2010-11 school-year. We could be paralyzed by our sorrow, but I’m urging all of us to use our rage and sorrow for more constructive ends.

1. Please call your congressperson and your US senators to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

2. Please call your congressperson and your US senators to URGE the inclusion of LGBT identity questions on ALL federal educational surveys. This data collection should be as matter of fact as collecting information on a student’s race and gender. This is “Plan B” since I’m not too hopeful about Point 1 being passed during the current congressional session, and I have NO hope about it passing in the next. The majority of our federal legislators need a collective spinal transplant to defend queer kids. So, if we could merely count them, then, that would be a good start.

3. If your state fails to protect LGBT people (like Michigan), NOW is the time to push politicians to include LGBT as protected identities in the public school code, which is an easier task for nervous politicians–again who need a spinal transplant.

4. If your state is particularly resistant to protecting LGBT identities, see if your local school board and/or city/municipal council might pass local protections. I tend to use the state of South Carolina has my favorite example of a “scary place for queers.” That said, LGBT identity is protected in the city of Columbia, and the staff at USC have had to undergo trainings on ensuring a better workplace (HT to my sister-in-law at USC). No kiddin….

5. And FINALLY, please talk with your friends, families, and co-workers about the violence of this past month. I’ve been heartened by the number of people who’ve pulled me aside to discuss the violence and what to do. Old friends from high school and college have even contacted me. People GET what’s going on and want to help. We have friends and allies everywhere. NOW is the time for us and for those who love us to pester our elected representatives.

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