Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

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Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Founded 1990
Founder Kevin Jennings
Type Educational
Area served
United States
Formerly called
Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network, is an organization in the United States that seeks to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in K-12 schools. GLSEN is headquartered in New York City and Washington, D.C.. As of 2009, there are thirty-nine chapters across the country.[1]

GLSEN supports gay–straight alliances (GSAs) along with sponsoring their annual National Day of Silence, and No Name-Calling Week and providing resources for teachers on how to support LGBT students, such as "Safe Schools" training.[2] It also sponsors and participates in a host of other "Days of Action", including Ally Week, which is five days held September 28 through October 2, for students to identify and connect with the people that identify as LGBTQ allies.


Founded as the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSTN) in 1990, the organization began as a local volunteer group of 70 gay and lesbian educators. At that time, there were two gay–straight alliances in the nation, only one state with policy in place to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, and a general lack of awareness of the needs of LGBT students. There were few, if any, resources available for teachers to discuss LGBT issues. However, groups of concerned individuals began to establish chapters across the country, advocating locally and regionally for safe schools for students who were, or were perceived to be, LGBT.

In mid-summer 1994, GLSTN became a national organization with the founding of the first chapter outside Massachusetts, in St. Louis, and in 1995 GLSTN hired its first full-time staff person, GLSEN’s founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. In 1997, GLSTN staged its first national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in response to the legislature’s effort to prevent the formation of GSAs in the state by banning all student groups. In 1997 GLSTN changed its name to GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) in order to attract broader support.

In 2000 the Chicago chapter of GLSEN was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[3]

More than 3,600 GSAs have registered with GLSEN, which has approximately forty full-time staff, a governing board of twenty members and two advisory committees at the national level. In addition, nearly forty Chapters are affiliated with GLSEN on local levels. GLSEN has hosted more than 8 national conferences to bring together student leaders, educators, chapter leaders and activists.

Think Before You Speak campaign[edit]

On October 8, 2008, GLSEN and Ad Council released the Think Before You Speak Campaign, designed to end homophobic vocabulary among youth, through the use of television, radio, print, and outdoor ads.[4][5]

Fistgate controversy[edit]

Main article: Fistgate

In 2000, the leader of the conservative Parents' Rights Coalition of Massachusetts secretly taped one of the fifty workshops in "Teachout 2000", titled "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class: Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21" . Students discussed sex in a workshop "billed as a safe place for youths to get their questions about their sexuality answered" in the session's Q&A section. The tapes generated controversy when they were broadcast over radio, and critics pointed out legal prohibition of taping of people without their permission.[6]

GLSEN Respect Awards[edit]

GLSEN organizes the annual GLSEN Respect Awards to honor personalities and organizations who have made significant contribution to LGBT youth. They also honor students, educators and gay–straight alliances. Since 2004, there have been over four dozen honorees and over $15 million raised in all.[7] [8]

Respect - NY Respect - LA
2015 Johnson & Johnson tba
Matthew Morrison tba
Jon Stryker tba
Desiree Raught, Educator of the Year tba
Nixa High School GSA, GSA of the Year tba
2014 AT&T Danny Moder & Julia Roberts
Janet Mock Bob Greenblatt
Laura Taylor, Educator of the Year Derek Hough
The Park City High School GSA, GSA of the Year Cliff Tang, Student Advocate of the Year
2013 Jason Collins Lionsgate
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Todd Spiewak & Jim Parsons
LZ Granderson Linda Bloodwort -Thomason
Farrington High School, GSA of the Year Laila Al-Shamma, Student Advocate of the Year
Matthew Beck, Educator of the Year
USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign
2012 NBA Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg
Marguerite Kondracke Simon Halls & Matt Bomer
Janet Sammons, Educator of the Year Bob & Harvey Weinstein
Allies 4 Equality, GSA of the Year Luis Veloz, Student Advocate of the Year
2011 Barclays Capital Wells Fargo
Susie Scher & Allison Grover Chaz Bono
Chely Wright Michele & Rob Reiner
Rich Espey, Educator of the Year Rick Welts
Emmett Patterson, Student Advocate of the Year
2010 American Express Modern Family
Pfizer Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
David Dechman & Michael Mercure Dan Renberg and Eugene Kapaloski
Cyndi Lauper Ferial Pearson, Educator of the Year
Danielle Smith, Student Advocate of the Year
PepsiCo David C. Bohnett
Mary Jane Karger, Educator of the Year Shonda Rhimes
Austin Laufersweiler, Student Advocate of the Year
2008 DiversityInc Lance Bass
Goldman Sachs Darren Star
Lloyd C. Blankfein Disney / ABC Television Group
Ronald M. Ansin
2007 National Education Association Hon. James C. Hormel
Elizabeth Duthinh Greg Berlanti
John Mack Dr. Neal Baer
Hon. Sheila Kuehl
2006 Citigroup, Inc. James Howe
Kerry Pacer, Student Activist Cisco Systems, Inc.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Dr. Virginia Uribe, PH.D
2005 Lehman Brothers Jeff Quin
Talia Stein Moses Kaufman
Hon. Richard Gephardt & Chrissy Gephardt IBM
Frankie Martinez
2004 Andrew Tobias
Marina Gatto

See also[edit]


External links[edit]