LGBT Students: Empowerment and Community in the Digital Age

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LGBT Students: Empowerment and Community in the Digital Age

by Michelle Filippini
Online Colleges Columnist

The path from adolescence to young adulthood is rocky for most, but for those who don't conform to pre-established conventions, it can be downright treacherous. Digital platforms have ushered in new methods to bully and to be bullied. Texting, social media networks, and email, to name a few, are providing  ways to make a youth's life miserable, often in a public forum. All too frequently, victims of bullying are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

But these modern digital weapons of torture can also be turned and used against the perpetrators. Over the last several years there has been an observed spike in youth suicides, many attributed to bullying of LGBT youth. This has prompted the growth of social media-generated anti-bullying publicity, followed by a massive outcry across the country. Public attitudes and tolerance around sexual identity and orientation continue to evolve alongside an increase in online resources and awareness campaigns for LGBT students. This includes the It Gets Better Project, an Internet-based video project founded by syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage with his partner Terry Miller. After learning about the number of LGBT students being bullied and consequently taking their own lives, they determined to show that no matter how bad things are for LGBT youth, it gets better. They aim to provide LGBT young people with a window into a better future and a message--that it will get better once they get through their teen years. They achieve this by featuring a number of high-profile, influential, successful, openly gay adults for whom things did get better.

In February 2013, the second-annual "Out for Undergraduate Technology Conference" was held at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters to afford high-achieving LGBT students the opportunity to connect with some of Silicon Valley's biggest employers. As event organizer Michael Ruderman put it, the conference is "mostly about helping the next generation of LGBT employees realize they don't have to hide their sexual orientation to get ahead."

This infographic examines some of the issues facing LGBT students, how they're affected, and how support for these students--much of it Web-based--has evolved over the years.

Sources:

KQED, "Tech Conference Gives LGBT Students Support to Stay Out", January 2013

It Gets Better Project

For a complete list of sources, please view the Infographic.

- See more at: http://www.onlinecolleges.com/infographics/lgbt-students.html#sthash.vWfWcaDV.dpuf
LGBT Students: Empowerment and Community in the Digital Age
by Michelle Filippini
Online Colleges Columnist

The path from adolescence to young adulthood is rocky for most, but for those who don't conform to pre-established conventions, it can be downright treacherous. Digital platforms have ushered in new methods to bully and to be bullied. Texting, social media networks, and email, to name a few, are providing  ways to make a youth's life miserable, often in a public forum. All too frequently, victims of bullying are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

But these modern digital weapons of torture can also be turned and used against the perpetrators. Over the last several years there has been an observed spike in youth suicides, many attributed to bullying of LGBT youth. This has prompted the growth of social media-generated anti-bullying publicity, followed by a massive outcry across the country. Public attitudes and tolerance around sexual identity and orientation continue to evolve alongside an increase in online resources and awareness campaigns for LGBT students. This includes the It Gets Better Project, an Internet-based video project founded by syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage with his partner Terry Miller. After learning about the number of LGBT students being bullied and consequently taking their own lives, they determined to show that no matter how bad things are for LGBT youth, it gets better. They aim to provide LGBT young people with a window into a better future and a message--that it will get better once they get through their teen years. They achieve this by featuring a number of high-profile, influential, successful, openly gay adults for whom things did get better.

In February 2013, the second-annual "Out for Undergraduate Technology Conference" was held at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters to afford high-achieving LGBT students the opportunity to connect with some of Silicon Valley's biggest employers. As event organizer Michael Ruderman put it, the conference is "mostly about helping the next generation of LGBT employees realize they don't have to hide their sexual orientation to get ahead."

This infographic examines some of the issues facing LGBT students, how they're affected, and how support for these students--much of it Web-based--has evolved over the years.

Sources:

KQED, "Tech Conference Gives LGBT Students Support to Stay Out", January 2013

It Gets Better Project

For a complete list of sources, please view the Infographic.

- See more at: http://www.onlinecolleges.com/infographics/lgbt-students.html#sthash.vWfWcaDV.dpuf

LGBT Students: Empowerment and Community in the Digital Age

by Michelle Filippini
Online Colleges Columnist

The path from adolescence to young adulthood is rocky for most, but for those who don't conform to pre-established conventions, it can be downright treacherous. Digital platforms have ushered in new methods to bully and to be bullied. Texting, social media networks, and email, to name a few, are providing  ways to make a youth's life miserable, often in a public forum. All too frequently, victims of bullying are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

But these modern digital weapons of torture can also be turned and used against the perpetrators. Over the last several years there has been an observed spike in youth suicides, many attributed to bullying of LGBT youth. This has prompted the growth of social media-generated anti-bullying publicity, followed by a massive outcry across the country. Public attitudes and tolerance around sexual identity and orientation continue to evolve alongside an increase in online resources and awareness campaigns for LGBT students. This includes the It Gets Better Project, an Internet-based video project founded by syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage with his partner Terry Miller. After learning about the number of LGBT students being bullied and consequently taking their own lives, they determined to show that no matter how bad things are for LGBT youth, it gets better. They aim to provide LGBT young people with a window into a better future and a message--that it will get better once they get through their teen years. They achieve this by featuring a number of high-profile, influential, successful, openly gay adults for whom things did get better.

In February 2013, the second-annual "Out for Undergraduate Technology Conference" was held at Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters to afford high-achieving LGBT students the opportunity to connect with some of Silicon Valley's biggest employers. As event organizer Michael Ruderman put it, the conference is "mostly about helping the next generation of LGBT employees realize they don't have to hide their sexual orientation to get ahead."

This infographic examines some of the issues facing LGBT students, how they're affected, and how support for these students--much of it Web-based--has evolved over the years.

Sources:

KQED, "Tech Conference Gives LGBT Students Support to Stay Out", January 2013

It Gets Better Project

For a complete list of sources, please view the Infographic.

- See more at: http://www.onlinecolleges.com/infographics/lgbt-students.html#sthash.vWfWcaDV.dpuf

LGBT Students: Empowerment and Community in the Digital Age
Courtesy of: OnlineColleges.com

Generation LGBTQIA - NYT

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Check out this great article in the New York Times!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/fashion/generation-lgbtqia.html?src=dayp&_r=0

PFLAG Founder Remembered

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Jeanne Manford Pride Parade 1972

It is with great sorrow that we share with all of you the passing of PFLAG's founder, Jeanne Manford.
 
From PFLAG National Executive Director, Jody Huckaby:
 
Today the world has lost a pioneer: Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Mother of the Straight Ally movement.
 
Jeanne was one of the fiercest fighters in the battle for acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It is truly humbling to imagine in 1972 - just 40 years ago - a simple schoolteacher started this movement of family and ally support, without benefit of any of the technology that today makes a grassroots movement so easy to organize. No Internet. No cellphones. Just a deep love for her son and a sign reading "Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children."
 
This simple and powerful message of love and acceptance from one person resonated so strongly it was heard by millions of people worldwide and led to the founding of PFLAG, an organization with more than 350 chapters across the U.S. and 200,000 members and supporters, and the creation of similar organizations across the globe.
 
Jeanne's work was called "the story of America...of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating, educating for change, of hope stronger than hate, of love more powerful than any insult or injury," in a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009.
 
All of us - people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies alike - owe Jeanne our gratitude. We are all beneficiaries of her courage. Jeanne Manford proved the power of a single person to transform the world. She paved the way for us to speak out for what is right, uniting the unique parent, family, and ally voice with the voice of LGBT people everywhere.
 
***
 

A private interment service will be held and details of a later celebration of Jeanne Manford's life and legacy will be announced. The family requests that any donations be made to the Jeanne Manford Legacy Fund to support the ongoing work of PFLAG National: 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 660, Washington, DC  20036.


Retrieved from: <http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2>


"We are not alone in the struggle"

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Great article about allies standing up for LGBT people against intolerance and hate.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-diaz/lgbt-tolerance_b_2397363.html

University of Iowa adds optional question on sexual orientation

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The University of Iowa is today announcing the addition of an optional question on sexual orientation, and a transgender choice under gender, as part of an effort to make its undergraduate application one that sends a welcoming signal to all students -- and to gather information about the institution's success at attracting and retaining students who aren't straight.


Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/12/12/university-iowa-adds-optional-question-sexual-orientation#ixzz2EquOqXGU

Penn State Greek Life releases "It Gets Better" Video

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Check out the new "It Gets Better" video released by the Pennsylvania State University Greek Life!

Supreme Court Weighs Hearing Gay Marriage Cases

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Allison Subasic, Center Director, on the U Report

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Check out this podcast where Allison shares the great work we do with U Report! http://theureport.posterous.com/168736949








National Coming Out Week at PSU

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National Coming Out Day on Campus!


The Pennsylvania State University

by Craig Leets

Each year, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally (LGBTA) Student Resource Center at the Pennsylvania State University partners with LGBTA student organizations to coordinate a week of programming to celebrate National Coming Out Day (NCOD). Because programming lasts an entire week, this series of events has come to be known as National Coming Out week (NCOW). This year, five events were offered by the LGBTA Student Resource Center and the LGBTA student organizations to celebrate October 11th. With NCOD falling on a Thursday this year, NCOW began on Monday, October 8th, and lasted through Friday, October 12th.
 
On Monday of NCOW, the LGBTA Student Coalition and the LGBTA Student Resource Center hosted the "HUB Takeover." On the main level of Penn State's student union, six tables were placed in the main corridor with a rainbow balloon arch at each end. One of these tables provided students with the opportunity to sign an ally pledge. At another table, students could take complimentary buttons that had various identifiers on them, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, activist, and ally. The LGBTA Student Resource Center also offered a table with information about the Center and safe sex materials. Delta Lambda Phi, the Greek-letter organization for gay, bisexual, and progressive men, sold rainbow thread bracelets to raise money for the No H8 Campaign. One of the highlights of this event was various students throughout the day who stood in the middle of this corridor and offered "free gay hugs" to any passersby who were interested.
 
"Is Faith Straight?" was the question that a panel discussion focused on on the second day of NCOW. Four students from the LGBTA Student Resource Center's Straight Talks program comprised a panel of LGBT-identified students who have navigated the intersection of religion and sexual orientation during their lives. While one of the students shared a negative experience of coming out to devout parents, another student shared an affirming experience coming out in his home and his church. After each panelist shared a brief story about their experiences with religion and faith, audience members were asked to pose questions to any or all of the panelists about their experiences at this intersection of identities. In response to the questions, the students spoke about their personal relationships with their higher power, continued struggles with navigating religion and sexuality, and hope for a more inclusive future.
 
Wednesday was the pinnacle of NCOW with a lunchtime rally and the Keynote Speaker, Chaz Bono. A group of LGBT and ally students, faculty, and staff gathered to speak out about coming out and NCOD. Three students shared prepared remarks, including a story of coming out, a spoken word piece, and an ally's journey. Following these students, NCOW Keynote Speaker, Chaz Bono, shared his thoughts about coming out. Chaz encouraged people to come out and be true to themselves, but he cautioned the crowd to be sure that they came out in ways and in spaces that were safe. Chaz also encouraged the crowd to vote in what he referred to as a very important election for the LGBT community. After Chaz spoke, members of the crowd were welcomed to the stage to share their stories and statements about coming out. One of the selections was among the most
powerful and had the audience in tears, as a gay student shared an email from his father that said: "if someone who is coming out doesn't feel like they will have someone to love them afterward, tell them to come here because I love them for exactly who they are."
 
On Wednesday evening, an auditorium of 250 people listened as Chaz Bono spoke about his experience growing up and never quite feeling like himself. Chaz shared that even after coming out as a lesbian, he still did not feel that this label quite fit or correctly expressed his identity.  He told the crowd that after depression and substance abuse, he came to realize that he was trans and that after receiving testosterone for the first time, he finally felt like the self he had been waiting for throughout his life. Chaz ended his presentation with a call for people to be themselves and show others their true selves because he has found happiness in being his authentic self.
 
As a result of a canceled event on Friday, a candlelight vigil on Thursday night was the final NCOW event. One of the Co-Presidents of the LGBTA Student Coalition told a group of students and several staff gathered on the edge of campus that the vigil was in honor of any fallen queer youth who had been a victim of hate or took their own lives because they could no longer handle the pain. Each candle was paired with a paper cup that acted as a shield for wind and melting wax and also had a name on the cup to identify LGBT people who were lost. Songs, poetry, and personal stories were shared, including "Hope is a thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson and "The nutritionist" by Andrea Gibson. In closing the event, one of the vigil's organizers promised to never stop fighting and to never stop speaking out until LGBT youth no longer lived in a world where hopelessness and violence lead to tragedy.
 
As the week came to a close, after celebration, speaking out, and remembrance, students deflated the rainbow balloon arches with a renewed sense of hope and purpose for the work that still remains to bring widespread safety, affirmation, and equality to the LGBT community.

Denied divorce, some same-sex couples 'wed-locked'

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