Ending Anti-Gay (And All) Bullying in our Culture... and at YOUR School!
In a 60-90 minute presentation, Lee creates a safe space to talk about what’s behind bullying, homophobia, prejudice and the climate that creates Gay Teen suicides and murders.
• Lifestyle “choice”
• Lessons of the Holocaust and The Civil Rights Movement
• Prejudice in our language:
“that’s so gay”
“last one is a sissy”
• Prejudice in our culture:
Happily Ever After
The censorship battle over children’s picture books
• Prejudice and Protection in our laws:
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Same Sex (Same Love) Marriage
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
Federal Job Anti-Discrimination Notice
Laws protecting students from discrimination & harassment
• Famous GLBTQ People in History - and why you’ve never heard they were Gay
• "Bystander" versus "UPstander"
• GLBTQ Teen books in YOUR school/local library
• Bullying and the cost of Bullying
• "It Gets Better" Project
• Call To Action
In a get-up-off-your-feet exercise, Lee has students physicalize what 10% of the population looks like (10% of the U.S.A. are GLBTQ). Then what 29% of the population looks like (29% of the U.S.A. are Non-White Minorities). Then what 51% looks like (51% of the U.S.A. are Women.) Women and Non-White Men make up 68% of our country’s population.
Add in poverty, obesity, disability, atheists and religious minorities - add in nerds and geeks and goths and punks and the zitty and the too tall, too short, those with different accents, different clothes... anyone who’s different - and you have a VAST MAJORITY.
Add in Allies and we are unstoppable. This is one of the great lessons of the Civil Rights Movement.
The problem with calling being Gay a “Lifestyle choice”
Lee shares his personal story of coming out, and challenges the straight students in the audience to consider when they made the choice to be attracted to people of the opposite gender. The only choice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning people is to lie... or be authentic.
The word “homoSEXual” makes gay love all about sex.
No one wants to think about other people having sex.
(i.e., You don’t want to think about your parents having sex, do you? But you don’t have a problem thinking about your parents loving each other, right?)
So what if we called it “HomoLOVEual?”
A CALL TO ACTION
Facing History and Ourselves coined the term “UPstander” to be the opposite of a “bystander” when witnessing prejudice against someone else.
Lee challenges students to be UPstanders and critically examine the anti-gay and anti-minority bias in the words they use and in the history, laws and culture surrounding them.
First they stand up, then their group of friends, their school, their community, and ultimately today’s students have the power to transform our world!
SAFE SPACE ASSEMBLY REFERENCES
Robin Fosdick, Reference Librarian, Youth Services, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Corvallis, Oregon
Curtis Kiefer, Youth Services Division Manager, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, Corvallis, Oregon
Julie Williams, Teacher, Gay-Straight Alliance Advisor, Green Club Advisor, Aerobic Club Advisor, Assistant Track Coach, Corvallis High School, Corvallis, Oregon
Jill Barker, Counselor, Palisades Charter High School, Pacific Palisades, California
Emily Sears Vaughn, MFCT, School Counselor, Marlborough School, Los Angeles, California
"I just went out to my friends and told them I'm not going to use the word faggot or bitch anymore." - Pali High Student
"The assembly really made me open my eyes. I have made derogatory remarks and jokes about gay, bisexual and transgender people. I realize now that those remarks are not kind and I won't say them anymore." - Pali High Student
"I was very moved, and it made me feel better about myself." - Pali High Student
"It was amazing to have you come to Pali and speak to our students. I think you made a huge contribution to uplifting our campus culture." - Jill Barker, Charter School Counselor
"I hope other schools get to hear your speech because it was a great wake up call." - 11th grader
I just wanted to let you know that after your assembly, the turnout at our GSA meetings has at least tripled! I am so proud of how well it went, and how our club is so recognized on campus now. Thanks again, and hopefully you will come again soon!” - Gillian, student president, Pali GSA