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Pride Committee’s Gender-Sexuality Alliances workshop

Sharing experiences
New York Teacher
Pride Commitees

Gender-Sexuality Alliances workshop participants discuss ways to make schools more supportive of LGBTQIA students.

More than two dozen participants learned about making schools safer for and more supportive of LGBTQIA students at the UFT Pride Committee’s virtual workshop on Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) on May 27. Attendees heard from Pride Committee Chair Rashad Brown and the city Department of Education’s LGBTQ programs manager, Eric Vaughan, about the role of GSAs in providing LGBTQIA students space to gather and discuss their lives and their needs. Public school educators also shared their experiences organizing these groups in their schools. Michael DeShields, a teacher at PS 3 in Manhattan, said his school plans to launch a GSA next year but is already having discussions about expectations around gender. “In the lower grades, we’ve talked about how it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s inside that’s important,” said DeShields. Once they’ve established that foundational value, he said, the discussion focuses on issues like transgender rights for older students. Lealanis Ortiz, a teacher at PS 361 in the Bronx, said the entire staff supported the GSA at her school. “We came up with hoodies for our GSA students and the entire staff wanted one,” she said. “Now you see everyone in the halls with their GSA hoodies.”

Related Topics: LGBTQ rights, UFT Pride