OUTMemphis is honored to be a part of the strategy team for GLSEN TN. Our Youth Services Specialist Emerson Kirkpatrick has been asked to represent OUTMemphis at this retreat, where strategies for issues surrounding LGBTQ youth in Tennessee will be discussed and formulated. 

From GLSEN regarding this retreat:

“The goal of the GLSEN Statewide Strategy Retreat is to gather everyone affiliated with the GLSEN Tennessee chapter – whether brand new or a senior leader – in one place for a full day of connecting, sharing, and planning for the coming year together. During this retreat, we will collectively develop a vision of action for the 2019-2020 school/fiscal year by: Reflecting on successes and challenges from previous years; prioritizing our work, resources, and emphasis; Creating concrete benchmarks, goals, and accountability processes; Growing stronger and closer as a GLSEN Team; and Nominating and electing our incoming board members”

GLSEN is a national organization that focuses on the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth in schools. From their website:

“At GLSEN, we want every student, in every school, to be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We believe that all students deserve a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow.

We accomplish our goals by working in hallways across the country — from Congress and the Department of Education to schools and district offices in your community — to improve school climate and champion LGBT issues in K-12 education. 

  • We conduct extensive and original research to inform our evidence-based solutions for K-12 education.
  • We author developmentally appropriate resources for educators to use throughout their school community.
  • We partner with decision makers to ensure that comprehensive and inclusive safe schools policies are considered, passed and implemented.
  • We partner with dozens of national education organizations to leverage our shared expertise into creating great schools and better opportunities for every student. 
  • We empower students to affect change by supporting student-led efforts to positively impact their own schools and local communities.

Every day GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together, we can transform our nation’s K-12 schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve. “

One of the main ways that GLSEN helps to influence these things is by publishing their annual National School Climate Survey, detailing responses by LGBTQ+ youth about their experience in schools broken down by state. Many organizations (including OUTMemphis) use this survey to guide programs and policies and to assess needs for LGBTQ+ youth. 

With the start of the new school year, many students may find that their schools are lacking in welcoming spaces for LGBTQ+ students. The presence of a GSA or similar organization in schools can dramatically improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ students. If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member of a school in Memphis and you would like help setting up a GSA/LGBTQ+ affirming organization in your school, send us an email to find out how our Youth Services staff can assist in that goal. 

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