Voices from our Schools

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Narcisa Huerta

LYRIC - www.lyric.org

Q. What is LYRIC and what exactly is the LGBTQ middle school initiative?

LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with LGBTQQ youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.

The middle school initiative aims to transform SFUSD middle schools by involving youth, school staff, and family members in creating school communities that celebrate LGBTQQ youth for who they are and encourage them to be who they want to be.

Q. What are you doing to create a safer school community for LGBTQ students?

LYRIC’s middle school Initiative aims to: (1) Create solutions to eliminate LGBTQQ hate speech and violence in schools; and (2) build the capacity of the schools to promote the inclusion and wellbeing of LGBTQQ youth by cultivating leadership among students, teachers, and families.

The students participate in a weekly class where social justice, allyship, and LGBTQQ human rights issues are discussed. School staff is provided professional development trainings that give them the language and tools to support LGBTQQ youth. Family workshops are available to give caregivers that give them the space to learn about gender identity and sexuality.

Q. What are some student/school reactions to the work you’ve done?

“[The Professional Development Series] raised a lot of equity issues, like our students aren't going to get the same education if they're not comfortable in their school.” –SFUSD Teacher “It was like planting a seed that will eventually grow to be this very big, beautiful flower that would spread knowledge and keep school a safe place.” – SFUSD Student

Q. What would you like to do better this year?

We hope to increase the number of students enrolled in LYRIC’s school-day class and involvement in LYRIC-supported school community building efforts. Also, we would like to incorporate more education for ALL students on current policies and laws around LGBTQQ rights—at their schools, within their communities, and in society in general.

We would also like to offer support to school administrators to create tools and practices for each department. For example, learning about gender neutral pronouns, and how to implement them in curriculum within the English department can have a large positive impact for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

By creating practices that normalize queerness in the school community, we transform schools into spaces in which families, teachers, and peers celebrate LGBTQQ youth for who they are and encourage them to be who they want to be.

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