Saturday, October 1, 2016

Show 'em a Sign

This past week was GLSEN's Ally Week, a week focused on how to become better allies to LGBTQ youth through active support and advocacy. 
Here's a link to GLSEN's  Ally Week Educator's Guide: Ally Week Educator Guide
So as an educator, how do you connect with LGBTQ students so that they know you are a support for them? One of the simplest ways is to show them a sign! Give your students a sign to let them know that your office is a safe space and you will be a supportive person for them. 
Put up safe space poster or sticker in your office to let them know. 

I wasn't always so sure a sign or sticker could make that much difference, but it does! LGBTQ students speak openly with me without hesitation because they know that I am their ally. I will support and advocate for and with them. 

Click  HERE for GLSEN's Safe Space Toolkit (posters, stickers, and more)!

Here's the sign on my desk that you see when you walk in my door or can see from the hallway (with a safe space sticker)  and an additional sticker on the bulletin board above where I sit from Georgia Safe School Coalition....

Showing students a sign to know where they can connect and be supported is great! It signals to students where there is an LGBTQ ally and that is important especially for LGBTQ students who do not have an ally in any other part of their lives.
Even more important is that as school counselors we continue to stay educated about LGBTQ issues and exactly how to support and advocate with our LGBTQ students.  Below is a list of links to resources (and there are many more) to help us stay educated and aware. If we "say" we are a safe space, safe zone, or ally then we must be educated and aware enough to be those things for our students.