Gay Straight Alliances
GLSEN - The Gay Straight Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Founded as a local group in 1990, the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSTN) began as a volunteer group of 70 gay and lesbian educators. At that time, there were two Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) in the nation, only one state with policy in place to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, and a general lack of awareness of the needs of LGBT students. LGBT youth did not have a voice in the education community or in the LGBT movement. There were few, if any, resources available for teachers to discuss LGBT issues. However, groups of conce ed individuals began to establish chapters across the country, advocating locally and regionally for safe schools for students who were, or were perceived to be, LGBT.
In 1995 GLSTN became a national organization and hired it first full time staff person, GLSTN’s founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. In 1997, GLSTN staged its first national conference in Salt Lake City, UT to respond to the legislature’s move to ban all student groups in an effort to prevent the formation of Gay Straight Alliances in the state. It is also this year that GLSTN changes its name to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, in order to attract new members to the struggle for safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression. Visit our website to view GLSEN statistics.
Currently, GLSEN has registered more than 2500 Gay Straight Alliances, has approximately 30 full time staff, a gove ing board of 20 members and two advisory committees at the national level. At this point GLSEN has successfully hosted 8 national conferences to bring together student leaders, educators, chapter leaders and activists. GLSEN also sponsors the National Day of Silence, which close to 2 million students, teachers, and staff have been a part of at 3029 school campuses across the country. GLSEN’s newest national project is National No Name Calling Week. In coalition with leading education organizations, including the National Education Association and the National Middle School Association, GLSEN is proud to be a part of an event geared toward educating middle school students about the negative impact of bullying and harassment.
DONATE TO GLSEN To help GLSEN achieve its vision of safe and effective schools for all students, consider the many benefits of a generous gift.