Monday is the first day of Ally Week, a week for students to identify, support and celebrate Allies against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language, bullying and harassment in America's schools. Ally Week was started in 2005 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to celebrate Allies committed to ensuring safe and effective schools for all and to encourage students to take action. GLSEN envisions a world where every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and support from students who do not identify as LGBT is an important part of this vision.
This year Ally Week is held October 15-19 by schools and students, often as members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, across the nation. GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey found that 8 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment, but interventions such as starting a GSA at school improved the situation. Participants in Ally Week can start by encouraging students to take the Ally Pledge, which states:
I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to:
- Not use anti-LGBT language and slurs;
- Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where other students are being harassed;
- Support efforts to end bullying and harassment.
You can take the Ally Pledge online here.
Find out more about Ally Week at www.allyweek.org!
The last day of Ally Week is Spirit Day! Spirit Day reinforces the message of Ally Week by encouraging individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals, celebrities, and even national landmarks to go purple in support of LGBT youth and to stand against bullying. Getting involved is easy -- participants are asked to simply "go purple" on October 19th as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. Learn more and go purple at www.glaad.org/spiritday!
You can also get involved by downloading GLAAD’s Spirit Day resource kit, which contains tools to help turn your community purple in a stand against bullying. Spirit Day participants can also spread the word by telling their friends that they’re going purple on 10/19. Or, you can text PURPLE to 80888 to donate $5 to support the important work GLAAD,GLSEN and The Trevor Project do every day to end bullying and support LGBT youth.