GLBT Expert’s Tip of the Month – May

Speaking up will give you power

While interacting with different high school and college students at certain GLBT events, I always ask how the “climate” is at their school. The “climate” refers to the level of support and acceptance of the entire school regarding GLBT students and related issues. While some students report that their school or college is very supportive and that being gay is a non-issue, other students have a very different story to tell.

“Our school is horrible,” they tell me. “There is little to no support, and kids still get bullied in the halls.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated situation. While many high schools and colleges are doing their part in order to raise GLBT awareness, others aren’t doing anything at all. If you are a GLBT student who attends a high school or college that doesn’t have a supportive “climate,” you may feel as though there is nothing you can do about it. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You have the power within you to be a catalyst for change. If you sit back and let other students talk down to you, or dictate how you are supposed to feel about yourself, then you are giving away your power. You can reclaim your power and self-confidence simply by speaking up. Talk to a guidance counselor at your school and tell him or her what is going on. Find out what you can do in order to increase GLBT awareness and support at your school. You could start a Gay/Straight Support Group, write an article for your school or local newspaper, start a blog about your experience, or even create a support group on Facebook. All of these things can lead to positive change at your high school or college. Try it for yourself and see what happens.

~ Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, GLBT Student Stress Expert, Campus Calm

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