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K-State Today

March 30, 2015

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network offers sessions for Manhattan community, educators

Submitted by Patrice Scott

The Greater Kansas City Chapter of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, will be on campus this week providing free training opportunities for campus organizations, K-State faculty and academic advisers, future teachers, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden educators and members of the community.

Amanda Morales, College of Education assistant professor and diversity coordinator, was honored to work with network representatives to organize several learning opportunities for those interested in advancing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, equity issues.

Three of the 10 sessions are open to the public:

  • Today, K-State Libraries will host the workshop "Be Aware" at 7 p.m. in the Hemisphere Room. This workshop is designed to introduce participants to the issues gender-nonconforming students encounter in their school communities.
  • Tuesday, a session for academic advisers will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 21 Bluemont Hall.
  • Wednesday, Morales' "Teaching in a Multicultural Society" class from 1:30-3:20 p.m. in 343/344 Bluemont Hall is open to guests.

"As an educator, I value the research and advocacy work that GLSEN does to increase awareness of issues related to LGBTQ students' wellness, safety and inclusion in schools," Morales said. "These opportunities could not be more timely, given the nature of public discourse on this issue at the district, state and national levels. I am grateful to be part of this event which will, I hope, open doors for meaningful dialogue."

Data from the organization's 2013 National School Climate Survey reveals many challenges LGBT students face. Nearly 8,000 students between the ages of 13-21, many of whom self-identified as LGBT, were asked about their experiences in their school communities. These students reported that due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation:

  • 55 percent of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
  • 39 percent felt unsafe because of the way they expressed their gender.
  • 65 percent of LGBT students reported hearing homophobic remarks and 33 percent heard negative remarks specifically directed at transgender people.
  • 36 percent were physically harassed because of their sexual orientation and 23 percent because of their gender expression.
  • 17 percent were physically assaulted and 11 percent because of their gender expression.
  • 56 percent reported personally experiencing LGBT related discriminatory policies or practices at school.
  • 57 percent of students did not report these incidents because they believed no action would be taken or that reporting would make things worse.

All of these experiences were found to be more extreme in rural schools.