Dear Community Member,
LGBT youth are under attack in our country, 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 need to take action and fight back.
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 their decision. However, the line was drawn in the sand and it 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.”
Other opponents went on cite religious beliefs as a claim to have LGBT-themed books removed from the children’s section of the libraries – books that highlight families with two 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.
These anti-LGBT groups are digging-their-heels-in! 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.
The LGBT Network is mobilizing to take back our schools, libraries, and communities from these hateful opponents of LGBT visibility and representation. We need your help and support to grow and sustain strategies for LGBT inclusion and equity as the new school year launches. Because this is just the beginning.
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’s why a gift from you today is going to help.
There are four strategies to ensure our LGBT youth remain safe, supported, and represented in our schools and communities:
· We will continue delivering our anti-bullying programs in school classrooms and training of school staff as we have been doing for nearly three decades to address and prevent the bullying of LGBT youth
· 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
· We will launch a new School Ambassadorship Program to ensure we have parents and other community members representing every school district in Long Island and Queens to speak-up and change the narrative and create permanent and sustainable change!
· A new Leadership 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!
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 two new initiatives that will help LGBT people and allies gain a fair share and fair voice in supporting LGBT youth.
· $45 will provide on school with a complete “Coming Out Day Campaign Organizing Kit,” with hundreds of rainbow and trans ribbon, posters, information cards, Safe Space Stickers, and an Organizing Manual that includes guidance about how to counter discrimination
· $75 Trains one parent or community member to take action and counter anti-LGBT activity in local schools and school districts through our School Ambassadorship program
· $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
Please make a gift today. 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 October 1st to create safer schools for LGBT youth! 100% of your contribution is tax-deductible.