“Thank you. Thank you. Your Safe Schools speakers made a
huge difference in our school. The name-calling has all but stopped.”
That’s what one school counselor told us about our Safe Schools Program. Give us a few minutes and we’ll tell you why.
Thursday, 8:45 a.m., South Bronx - Students are settling down in their middle school classroom. The teacher asks Justin to settle down. He stops talking to Angela. Tony puts down his pen. In the back of the room, Brianna looks up from her reading. The room becomes still.
“As a Safe Schools speaker, I go back to the middle school that I attended. When I learned there what ‘lesbian’ meant, I was groping in the dark. It was scary and I went through some tough times. It’s barely ten years later, but PFLAG has made such a difference at that school.”
— Charlie Trotman
In this 8th grade classroom, 29 students focus on the Safe Schools speaker — a mom telling the story of her daughter’s coming out. She talks about her feelings, her family’s reaction, and how things are today.
Next up… a transgender man talks about coming to understand and accept himself. He talks about coming out to his family and the struggles of his mom. He closes by telling the students about finding a job and career he loves.
When the speakers are finished, Tony raises his hand and shares with the class that his lesbian aunt always takes him out to eat on his birthday. Other students tell stories of LGBT family members — stories they have never shared before. Brianna asks about the best way for someone to come out to their parents.
A Typical Safe Schools Visit
That is a typical class with the Safe Schools Program of PFLAG NYC. We reach thousands of students across the city with similar visits every year. We bring new information and new perspectives about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. We help LGBT kids feel supported and safe and get straight kids to think about LGBT people with new knowledge and understanding.
Again and again, we hear what an English teacher from a Brooklyn high school told us, “You changed the climate in our school.” Read more »