Voices from our Schools

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Peer Resources Teacher
Abraham Lincoln High School

Q: At school, what have you done to create a safer climate for LGBTQ youth and their families?

I’m a GSA sponsor and we have club activities.  We watch music videos that might be relevant and have discussions.  This week we are having someone come from Casa de Los Madres to share a presentation about healthy relationships. It’s a universal topic, but there are aspects that are different for gay teens.  Our most successful event is Pink Tsunami—a school wide event that’s a competition for each classroom.  If a class wins they get breakfast served by the principal.  That’s an activity that’s built around anti-bullying—an act of solidarity.  It’s a crazy event that oftentimes shocks the freshman.  They are not sure if it’s cool or not, soon they realize it is and they participate.

Q: What is a fun activity you’ve done for LGBTQ youth?

We perform at the brotherhood and sisterhood, which is a school wide assembly.  We’ve also gone down to the elementary school and talked to fifth graders about what it’s like to grow up gay in San Francisco.   

Q: What were some challenges/barriers you encountered?

There are so many other things going on that mainly it’s a time management issue–what do I really have time to organize?  

Q: What inspired you to create safer spaces for LGBTQ youth?

I have a gay brother and I bet I would not be doing this if it wasn’t for him.  He is seven years younger than me, and looking back I see that I was mean to him as an older brother in general.  I had trouble figuring out what was going on even though my family was supportive and I was supportive.  At the time, I didn’t really have anyone to process it with.  Now I’m very supportive of gay issues because I believe I could have been more supportive of my brother earlier in his life.

Q: What has been the school/community reaction for the work you’ve done?

Super positive.  It’s really inspiring.  The teachers really like it. I’ve had a lot of support from administration.  I’ve never had anybody belittle or demean any of the work that and my students and I have done.  I think the school is very supportive.  Sometimes the students think I’m gay which is funny and I don’t really tell them otherwise.  It keeps them guessing. 

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Quote - “Treat everyone like you love them, even if they are different.” - 12th grader, School of the Arts High School

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