LGBT youth are under attack in our local communities and schools, and they need your help.
Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has launched a national resurgence of anti-LGBT rhetoric and it’s manifesting in a severe and pervasive movement to erase LGBT people, images, conversations, and history from our schools. And this resurgence is gaining momentum and it’s happening here in our local communities.
LGBT Network is responding and that’s why we need your help. We’re working with youth and families to fight back, and need your support to continue and strengthen these efforts.
LGBT Network galvanized local parents and allies this June when the Smithtown Public Library voted to remove Pride displays from all of their libraries and LGBT-themed books from all of their children’s sections. Their decision was met with great disdain from LGBT people and allies, and within 48 hours, they reversed it. This action was a calling-cry for extremists and mobilized anti-LGBT opponents, including the Proud Boys and the Long Island Loud Majority. At the following two in-person meetings of the Smithtown Public Library, these anti-LGBT groups arrived in droves to stave-off our advocacy. Their words of opposition are among some of the worst we’ve heard in years:
“They are indoctrinating our youth into their lifestyle.”
“Get these books out of our libraries – they are sexualizing our kids.”
“These books are pornography and they have no right in our libraries.”
These anti-LGBT groups are digging-their-heels-in! Opponents cite religious beliefs as a claim to remove LGBT-themed books from the children’s section of the libraries – books highlighting families with same-gender parents, and books that discuss how a young person may feel about their gender. This anti-LGBT rhetoric is growing roots and spawning into our schools, too.
That’s why we need to respond and do more to protect and support LGBT youth. And we need new approaches to achieve the type of long-term systemic change that our kids and families deserve.
I’m sure you’ve seen it in the news, too: There is a national conversation about gender and sexuality in our schools that is erupting. The situation with the Smithtown Public Library is merely a window into what is taking place – a national mobilization and assault on LGBT people that is taking hold in our own communities. That’s why a gift from you today is so important in strengthening our efforts.
We are winning, but there are more battles. The LGBT Network succeeded in helping families elect three new Smithtown Library Board Members to ensure ongoing fairness and inclusion. We also rallied at the Connetquot School District Board of Education meeting in support of a teacher and GSA advisor targeted with the removal of Pride flags, at which LGBT Network announced it was suing the school district for their discrimination. However, it is through this work that students, families, and teachers reach out to us from other school districts, sharing that what we’re fighting now is what they are also facing: We need to stop the hate.
We need your support to respond to these ongoing attacks so that we can continue to empower our LGBT youth and their families to fight back and win safe spaces, equity, and inclusion.
There are four strategies to ensure our LGBT youth remain safe and represented in our schools and communities:
- We will continue our 29-year history of delivering our anti-bullying programs in school classrooms and training of school staff to address and prevent the bullying of LGBT youth
- Grow our new Pride Patrol effort that is a force of LGBT and allied community members whose goal is to promote visibility at our local school and library board meetings in order to show strength and unity to protect families from extreme right-wing intimidation tactics and create safe spaces for all.
- A new Candidate Academy to train people to run and win for both School Board and Library Board seats to that they can be the voice for equality, equity, safety, visibility and opportunity on our school and library boards! We need the real majority to be the voice for our youth and families!
- We will grow our Coming Out Day Campaign in as many schools as possible, which provides free rainbow and trans ribbon to build the visibility of the needs of LGBT youth
Please make a donation today to ensure that LGBT youth are not stuffed back into the closet by this hateful opposition. Your gift will counter bullying, grow visibility, and launch new initiatives that will help LGBT people and allies gain a fair voice in supporting LGBT youth.
- $45 Supports andtrains one parent or community member to take action and counter anti-LGBT activity in local schools and school districts through our Pride Patrol program
- $75 will provide one school with a complete “Coming Out Organizing Kit,” with rainbow and trans ribbon, posters, Safe Space Stickers, and Organizing Manual about how to organize and counter discrimination
- $125 Prepares one person to run for School Board or Library Board in their community so that they can provide fair and equitable representation for LGBT youth
- $250 Provides anti-bullying education for ten (10) students in a local school to reduce bullying among the student body
Please make a gift today to stop anti-LGBT hate. A gift of any amount helps LGBT students and their families. Please use the enclosed form or our website at www.lgbtnetwork.org. Every dollar counts in stopping this wave of anti-LGBT hate. Thank you for your consideration of helping our LGBT youth.
David Kilmnick, PhD
President & Founder
Please donate by December 31st to create safer schools for LGBT youth! 100% of your contribution is tax-deductible.