A 2015 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that “LGBTQ+ students experience pervasive harassment and discrimination, but school-based supports can make a difference.”
Educators are on the leading edge of campaigns, initiatives and legislative efforts to create safe and affirming schools and support LGBTQ+ student rights.
Helping to Shape LGBTQ+ inclusive Curriculum and Textbooks
AEA members mobilized in support of the repeal of a 28-year-old law that prohibited discussing homosexuality during HIV/AIDS instruction in public schools.
“I found sex-education to be heterosexual sex education, and even then, it was vague,” educator Gabriella Siciliano told AZEdNews.com of her experience in Arizona public schools. Sciliano is a member of the local LGBTQ+ community and a teacher at Verrado High School. “It was not a comfortable, or open discussion, as I believe it should be. By under-educating our students, we are setting them up for failure, which is simply a disservice.”
The Arizona state Senate passed a bill repealing the law in May 2019. Read more.
Awards & Grants
The AEA Foundation for Teaching & Learning provides grants and awards to recognize the work educators are doing to support our LGBTQ students. Learn more.
Human & Civil Rights Award
The annual Human and Civil Rights Award recognizes Arizona leaders who promote diversity; programs that lead to improved human relations; efforts leading to improved school district support of human and civil rights; or successful implementation of human and civil rights program. The recipient receives a $1,000 cash award.
Gay-Straight Alliance Encouragement Grant
The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Encouragement Grant offers opportunities for Arizona Gay-Straight Alliances to improve the school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Individual grants will be awarded for amounts between $50 and $250.