Ally Week FAQs
What is GLSEN's Ally Week?
GLSEN and students across the country, often as members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, will celebrate Ally Week on October 15-19 in schools and communities nationwide.
Ally Week is a week for students to identify, support and celebrate Allies against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language, bullying and harassment in America's schools.
Sudents will encourage their peers and school staff to sign an Ally Pledge which states:
deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to:
Students can also use this week to thank the allies in their life! Give an important ally a thank you card! Coming soon.
What is an Ally?
We refer to Allies as people who do not identify as LGBT students, but support
this community by standing against the bullying and harassment LGBT youth face
in school. Allies can be straight or cis gender identified youth and adults, or LGBT identified adults! Anyone who takes a student against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment can be an ally.
Who started Ally Week?
In 2005, members of GLSEN's Jump-Start National Student Leadership Team came up with an idea to celebrate Allies committed to ensuring safe and effective schools for all and to encourage students to take action. The idea turned into the first Ally Week celebrated in schools nationwide in October 2005.
What is GLSEN?
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national
education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established
nationally in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect
and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or
gender expression. For more information on GLSEN's educational resources, public
policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development
initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
Why do we need an Ally Week?
The unfortunate truth is that anti-LGBT bullying, violence and harassment are commonplace in America's schools. Actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender expression are two of the top three reasons teens report that students are harassed at their schools, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a GLSEN-commissioned report by Harris Interactive. In other words, all students - LGBT and straight alike - perceive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment as a serious problem in their schools. The vast majority of these same students said their schools would be better of if this issue was better addressed. GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate Survey found that nearly nine out of ten LGBT students report experiencing verbal harassment at school and over 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. GLSEN's Ally Week brings us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America's schools. We want to ensure that allies understand the important role they play in making schools safer for LGBT students, and take some time to thank them for their support!
Are there other Days of Action?
Ally Week is a great way to start organizing in the school year, but it is not the only opportunity to engage the school community. GLSEN supports students and GSAs in thoughtful, year-long organizing.
Be sure to register your participation in Ally Week to get information on other actions you and your GSA can take through the year.
And don’t forget to plan for the National Day of Silence on Friday, April
19, 2013! Visit Day of Silence
for more information.
What do we do after Ally Week is over?
GLSEN's Ally Week is one part of a larger effort to create safe schools for all students. There is much you can do throughout the year to help make your school safer. Start by visiting our student resources page where you can get information on other organizing tools, Days of Action, and ideas for ways you can make your schools safer!
And make sure to check out the other Days of Action, including the Day of Silence.
What are the facts about sexual orientation?
A resource prepared by a coalition of 13 education, health, mental health and religious organizations called Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel, can be found here.
Facebook.com/gaystraightalliances: Like the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook Page to connect with other student organizers, ask questions, discuss Ally Week ideas and get up-to-date news from Ally Week staff!
GLSENStore.org: The GLSEN Store has all the cool Ally Week and other GLSEN gear like t-shirts, buttons, stickers, posters and wristbands.
GLSEN.org: is the supporting organization for Ally Week and other Days of Action including the National Day of Silence.
DayofSilence.org: The National Day of Silence (April 19, 2013) is a student-led action in which students take a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country and around the world will take part to educate their schools and communities and to encourage others to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior in schools.
GLSEN.org/research: The 2011 National School Climate Survey, a survey of 8,584 middle and high school students conducted during 2011 found that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the previous year. Find more research statistics to support your organizing by going to glsen.org/research.
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