Discover SPdate, the Newest & Most Innovative Dating App for the LGBT Community


While there are lots of dating apps out there, and even lots of dating apps targeted specifically at the LGBT community, none of them have completely addressed of the wide variety of wants and needs LGBT people are asking for.

SP Date is changing that. While this is a dating app anyone can use, not just people who are part of the LGBT community, they aim to be the best dating app the solves everyone’s problems with online dating. Here’s what they’re doing for LGBT people.

How does SPdate work?

People have been creating LGBT apps dating sites ever since the beginning of the internet, but so far nothing totally aligns with what people are asking for. So they created a solution for that with SPdate, taking into account all the common complaints of different people, including LGBT people.

Members can post their own profiles and search other members by location, occupation, style, favorite bands, and interests, and what type of relationship they want, or if they’re just looking to hook up. The site is free to try and filled with members who are searching for a same sex partner, or any kind of partner you could desire.

Why is SPdate the best dating app for the LGBT community?

They support gay marriage and they’re one of the few dating apps that treat same sex couples as a top priority. Why do the majority of LGBT people say they don’t meet other LGBT people on other dating apps? Why do bisexuals and lesbians say they don’t date other bisexual and lesbian people? How can an app make dating better for everyone and address all of the diverse needs of the LGBT community? These are just some of the questions that were driving their team. One simple answer was to be inclusive. They want to support different kinds of people, and the reaction to our app has been incredible.

How does SPdate make sure people are safe?

Because the LGBT community has unique needs when it comes to finding a partner, there is no generic “best dating app for everyone.” You might be a straight guy looking for a casual sexual encounter with an actual woman who doesn’t mind casual sex. Or you might be a trans woman and looking for your third gender love connection. There’s no generic “best dating app for everyone.” The core focus of the SPdate app is to meet people who share similar needs. The app adapts, filtering by different criteria and prioritizing different features to match who you are and what you’re looking for. In essence, this is the most inclusive app out there, meeting the unique needs of the LGBT community.

Conclusion

Overall, while SPdate isn’t perfect, it’s still one of the best dating apps for the LGBT community out there and it’s worth checking out, even if it does come at the hefty price of $13.99 per month for a premium membership. Check it out! We think you’ll love this app no matter who you are.

Best Free LGBT Dating Apps For Casual Hookups

Some dating sites have a great track record when it comes to helping gay people find love, but not all do so. Some mobile apps allow you to take your online dating profile anywhere They’re going to make it easier than ever for gay and lesbian users. 

You don’t have to search for contacts on an LGBT dating site, you can find friends using chatrooms, groups and forums. For gay women, the dating sites they look at use dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, Tinder Plus, Bumble and others. Here you will find relationships, friendships and meaningful connections, even if you are not in a romantic relationship. 

There are gay, queer and lesbian dating apps that help the community find like-minded people, but the main goal of this dating app is to make it preferable to other online dating sites such as Tinder, Grindr and Tinder Plus. 

OKCupid

OkCupid is a good choice for anyone, but it also includes lesbian and gay dating services and bisexual dating services. Use the advanced search filters to find gay and lesbian singles that match your relationship preferences and use what interests you.

OKCupid is one of the largest online dating sites for gays and lesbians with more than 1.5 million registered users. It is based on the same principles as Tinder, but with different rules and a much more diverse selection of partners.

OKCupid is one of those websites that isn’t exclusively LGBT, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least try. LGBT dating apps, there are a number of online dating sites that I will be honest with you about, which websites are not exclusively for LGBT people. 

Grindr

If you’re looking for a queer dating app that helps you connect with someone in a meaningful way, Grindr is for you. It’s essentially a website that’s cool when you’re in that kind of thing, but it’s not for everyone. We recommend it to those in a hurry and want to know what choices you have for the best LGBT dating agencies.

Men have had enough of Tinder and in search of an experienced partner Grindr has branded itself as one of the best gay dating apps for men and women. It is branded as a safe place for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people to meet and date, as well as gay and lesbian couples. 

Elite Singles

If you’re not ready for relationships, that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your chances of finding the right same-sex relationship by using sites like Elite Singles to date. 

Elite Singles offers a friendly and safe environment for lesbian dating and is therefore one of the leading LGBT dating agencies for singles. This shows that any dating site can provide a fun, flirty, safe environment for LGBT dating and find romance and fall in love. 

EHarmony

EHarmony is often compared to Tinder, the world’s two most popular inclusive dating apps.

The veteran dating site has shed the heteronormativity that still plagues EHarmony, as it is open to both gay and heterosexual people.

While Grindr is a well-known app in the community, you might want to try eHarmony, another gay dating site, because of its scientific approach to dating, which means it is among the leading LGBT dating apps. 

Free Sex Club

Unlike some of the other apps on our list, FreeSex.Club is all about casual hookups, and not dating at all. If you’re having a hard time finding people on dating apps who just want to hook up, then you should try a sex app like this one instead.

Conclusion

LGBT dating sites can open new doors for you, whether you’re in a committed relationship with no ties or just want to make new friends. If you are looking for a single person, you can check out a variety of online dating sites for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. They can also be found on dating apps such as Tinder, OkCupid and Grindr, as well as online gay groups such as the National Gay and Lesbian Dating Network. 

If you are an LGBT single person with a family or love-oriented background, you can visit a variety of online dating sites for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Whether it’s a family friendly site, a gay dating site or an online gay group, this is your best bet. There are thousands of imaginative people on the Internet who have a wide range of sexual preferences and interests, from gay and lesbian to straight and bisexual. 

Resistance from Parents and Other Community Members

Some parents and other community members may genuinely support discussions related to homophobia and issues affecting LGBT students. They may support, for example, the formation of a “Gay/Straight Alliance in their school.

Others, however, have organized locally and nationwide to obstruct these important discussions on campus. There are some strategies to help lessen this resistance:\

  • School administrators can use the PTO Newsletter or local media to inform parents and other community members why your school is addressing issues affecting LGBT students, how you are doing this, and what you hope to accomplish. Encourage students to write articles about their experiences and, if you have conducted a survey on student attitudes, publish the findings to reinforce the necessity of making your school safe for student of all sexual orientations.
  • Distribute the Massachusetts Governor,s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth Report Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Students.
  • School administrators can use the Massachusetts Board of Education,s four Recommendations, and the “Gay Student Rights Law to back up their decision to tackle these issues, and show that they are simply trying to remain in step with the rest of the state, and with the law.
  • Survey the student body and publish finding about the level of tolerance or intolerance in your school newspaper or other widely-read written materials.
  • When talking with parents and guardians, and other community members, avoid responding defensively. Instead, point out the benefits of these discussions. Assure parents that by addressing these issues, you are not trying to change or place judgment upon their or the student,s moral or ethical beliefs. Rather, in addressing the issue of homophobia, you are trying to help all students function more productively in a changing world, while creating a safer learning environment on campus.
  • Present after-school forums on the topic. Invite speakers from the Massachusetts Department of Education,s Safe School Program for Gay and Lesbian Students, teachers, students, members of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and/or diversity workshop consultants who have had success addressing these issues in other communities.
  • Offer parents and guardians letters of support you have gathered from community leaders and members of the schools.
  • Include in notices and newsletters that go to parents, information and articles on the topic of homophobia and how your school is addressing the issue.

When working with parents, stress that you are available to discuss their concerns. Sometimes, parents simply need to be reassured that you are addressing these issues in a “responsible manner and that you are not advocating or promoting anything other than safely and support.

Finally, Be Smart

Use common sense and a little creativity to get this important work done. You might also consider:

  • Use precedence: be sure to follow the guidelines established by your school for other activities — for advisors, anti-hazing statements, field trip forms, etc. It is important to follow the precedent established by other groups on campus so that if anyone challenges you, you can say you are following the exact same procedures as, for example, the Chess Club, the African-American Club, etc.
  • void unnecessary conflicts. Don,t inflame the opposition by putting up offensive posters or inviting extremely controversial speakers to come and address the student body. All activities, speakers, and publicity should be appropriate for the school.
  • Avoid treading too gently. It is all right to be concerned about opposition, but the problems facing LGBT students are enormous. If you spend too much time worrying about the obstacles the opposition may create, you could end up doing nothing.

HANDLING RESISTANCE: In the Classroom or at a Speaking Engagement

(The following section was written by Warren J. Blumenfeld for the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Speakers Bureau of Boston,s Speaking Out Manual.)

Occasionally, you might be invited to speak before an audience you know will be unreceptive to the information you want to present, or you might encounter hostility from a few individuals within the group.

Hostility can be seen as a symptom of a host of emotions such as anger, fear, or hurt. Hostility might be a direct expression of insecurity around the basic emotional issues of human sexuality, or can be placed in “religious or political terms. For those expressing it, hostility is serving some sort of function. It is not so much about attacking you as it is about filling a need in them.

Hostility might be manifested in a variety of ways, such as defensiveness, obstructiveness, yelling, arguing/debating, disrespectful laughter, or pointed silence and withdrawal, often manifest vividly through body language.

Verbal hostility can range from a simple question with veiled hostility, to an outright statement like: “You people disgust me!, to a persistent attempt to disrupt the entire engagement to make a point.

Remember, in all likelihood you will not change this person. Do not try to convince or get involved in power struggles with hostile members of the audience.

If there is any name-calling involved, do not throw it back. Within the short amount of time you have, you will not convince those who are firmly entrenched in their prejudices.

Try to avoid taking personally any expressions of hostility. You might feel a tremendous amount of anger directed toward you, but in the majority of cases these feelings have absolutely nothing to do with you personally.

You may represent issues that many people are struggling with themselves. You can distance yourself from the hostility by reminding yourself and your audience of this.

Be comforted to know, however, that most of your audience, even if they disagree with you, do not want to see you harassed. If you can handle a potentially hostile situation effectively, you will win some points. Ultimately, you are in charge, and you can set the tone. The presence of hostility, in a limited number of people, does not mean you are alone or that you have lost control of the situation. When you enter a potentially hostile situation, it is good to remember two basic objectives:

  • Manage the Hostility.
  • Maintain Your Personal Integrity and Comfort Level.

Though there are not set rules on how to attain these objectives in a speaking engagement, what follows are some strategies for trying to defuse or redirect resistance or hostility. These strategies have been compiled by Warren J. Blumenfeld and other members of the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Speakers Bureau, with the assistance of Cooper Thompson of the Campaign to End Homophobia.

Post or State “Guidelines

Whether you are a classroom teacher or other school staff member, or a speaker/facilitator from outside the group you are invited to address, it is a good idea to begin by posting or stating a series of guidelines setting the parameters for discussion. As stated above in “Classroom Guidelines, these guidelines include:

  • All questions and opinions are appropriate to share.
  • People need to respect all ideas, with no attacks or blame.
  • Speak from personal experience; avoid generalizations; do not attempt to speak for others; Use “I statements.
  • Share air time. Take turns speaking; listen respectfully with no interruptions.
  • Respect people,s right not to participate in the discussion.
  • Be open to change some of your assumptions or opinions on the topic.
  • Anonymity must be respected. People can share information about this discussion with others outside the class only if class members, names and other identifying characteristics are not used.

Ignore the Hostility

Sometimes the best tactic to take is simply to ignore a hostile comment coming from the audience. This often works when the comment is an off-hand remark rather than a direct question or statement.

Acknowledge the Hostility

You can also acknowledge that you are aware of the comment, without necessarily agreeing with the person, and move on without responding further.

Acknowledgment can be given by a slight shake of the head, or simply by saying “I,ve heard what you said, or “That is interesting. You might want to recognize the person,s feelings without directly responding to the comment or question, and then proceed. For example, “I can see that you have some strong opinions about this issue. If a question or comment has little to do with the topic under discussion, you might simply make this known and move on.

Deflect the Hostility

Appreciate people for asking questions and recognize their feelings. “Thank you for your honesty in making that comment. Many people have similar concerns. You can then decide to address the comment (“In my experience, however, I,ve have found that … or “I do not agree. However, here,s what I think…), or move on.

A good strategy can be to toss the question back to the questioner: “That is an interesting question, what do you think? Or, to give yourself a bit more time to formulate your response: “Can you say more about what you mean?

You can also toss the question to the entire group, where you may find allies: “I have my opinions on this question, but before I give my response, I would like to hear from some of you. Does everyone here agree with that view?

Co-opt the Hostility

You can agree with or support a portion of the person,s statement while making a point supporting your own position: “It is true that some gay males are raised in families that might be defined as having a distant father and overbearing mother, but so are some people who are heterosexual.

By no means is this the only kind of family situation that gay males, lesbians, and bisexuals grow up in.

Treat a question or comment intended to bait you as if it were legitimate and use your answer as an opportunity to provide other information. Be aware of the underlying assumption, stereotype, or question beneath the question that is actually being asked.

Audience Member: To a lesbian — “You,re just here to pick up women.

Speaker: “You raise an interesting point. There is a stereotype that lesbians only have sex on their minds and want to convert, heterosexual people. For me, I have been in a loving relationship with another woman for over five years, and I,m really not interested in having sex with anyone else.

Sometimes you can silence a person,s disruptive behavior, or potentially even win that person over, by providing accurate information to contradict the myths and negative stereotypes that result in hostility. Explain to the audience in general, as well as to the person who asked the question, what assumptions you think are being made. Try to give a calm alternative to the comment.

Audience Member: “If everyone were homosexual, humanity would be destined to extinction.

Speaker: “Even if one day there were only gay males and lesbians in the world (which, by the way, I think there is little chance of), humanity would not be destined to extinction because lesbians and gay males can and do produce and raise children.

Though you should not take hostility personally, you can frequently personalize the issues by relating your own experiences and giving a number of personal anecdotes to support your position. Let your audience see your humanity, your humor, your joy.

Address Repeated Hostility

If an audience member continually interrupts with hostile comments, you might wish to address this disruption by allowing the member a few minutes to say anything he or she needs to say, after which time the disruptive member agrees to let other people speak: “You obviously have a point you want to make.

Why don,t you take two minutes to say whatever it is you want to say without interruption. Than we will go back to the general discussion (or presentation) without further comments from you. Go ahead, you have two minutes.

Alternatively, you could give a disruptive person the opportunity to share concerns either at the break or following the engagement: “We don’t have time now to continue with this particular point, but I will be available at the end of the discussion to talk with you about this matter.

Move Beyond the Hostility

Focus your comments on audience members who want to learn. You can do this by addressing the disruptive individual (“I,m aware that you have asked a lot of questions, and I really need you to hear that I want you to allow others in the room to ask theirs.) or by addressing the group as a whole: “We seem to have a difference of opinion that I don,t think we can resolve today.

Since we’re all here to learn, let,s move on to other people,s questions. or “It seems that we will not be able to reach an agreement on this point right now, so I suggest we agree to disagree. or “I think I’ve already answered that, so let,s give some other people a chance to ask their questions. or “I,m aware that people in the back of the room have some concerns. Would you like to share them with the rest of us?

There are, of course, many other strategies to deal with resistance and some of those listed might not be suitable to your individual style of presentation.

Talk with other facilitators about their strategies and experiences, and spend some time thinking about how you might react to and deal with these kinds of situations.

Above all else, you should consider your own well-being to be your top priority.

On those rare occasions when the atmosphere gets too strained, do what you need to do to take care of yourself and don,t worry about how well or poorly the workshop might turn out.

(Thanks to Pat Griffin and Janice Doppler of the Social Justice Education Program, University of Massachusetts – Amherst for their input into this paper.)

THE STUDENT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

Massachusetts has passed a landmark law that outlaws discrimination against students on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in public schools, an action spearheaded by young people of all sexual identities.

The Law amends an existing state law (Chapter 622 of the Acts of 1971, An Act to Prohibit Discrimination in Public Schools, codified as Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 76, Sections 5 and 16) adding the phrase “sexual orientation to the list of categories (race, color, sex, religion, and national origin) protecting students against discrimination.

The act to prohibit discrimination against students in public school on the basis of sexual orientation passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate, December 6, 1993, signed by Governor William F. Weld, December 10, 1993, and became effective March 10, 1994.

* * *

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: Section 5 of chapter 76 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1992 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence: No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges, and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.

Section 16 of Chapter 76 of the General Laws: The parent, guardian, or custodian of a child refused admission to or excluded from the public schools or from the advantages, privileges, and courses of study of such public schools shall on application be furnished by the school committee with a written statement of the reasons therefore, and thereafter, if the refusal to admit or exclusion was unlawful, such child may recover from the town in tort, and may examine any member of the committee or any other officer of the town, upon interrogatories.

RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE SUPPORT AND SAFETY OF GAY AND LESBIAN STUDENTS

In addition to the students, anti-discrimination law, based on the recommendations of the report Making Schools Safer for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Breaking the Silence in Schools and in Families of the Governor,s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, the Massachusetts Board of Education voted in May 1993 to adopt the following steps to improve the safely in schools and school-based support services for these students:

  1. chools are encouraged to develop policies protecting gay and lesbian students from harassment, violence, and discrimination.
  2. Schools are encouraged to offer training to school personnel in violence prevention and suicide prevention.
  3. chools are encouraged to offer school-based support groups for gay, lesbian, and heterosexual students.
  4. Schools are encouraged to provide school-based counseling for family members of gay and lesbian students.

MANDATE TO TEACHERS

In the fall of 1994, the Massachusetts State Board of Education, in response to a recommendation of the Governor,s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, made it a requirement that all classroom teachers learn about gay and lesbian student concerns in their training. College and university programs that certify teachers and other school personnel will be required by the state to include the concerns of gay and lesbian students within teacher and school personnel certification programs.

This certification change is the first time any state in the country has mandated teachers and school personnel to learn about gay student rights issues. The change affects classroom teachers, school guidance counselors, school administrators, and school psychologists who will be certified to work in Massachusetts public schools in grades K through 12.

A statewide Higher Education Certification Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Students was formed to provide guidelines for teacher training programs in Massachusetts colleges and universities on implementing the changes.

ON HARASSMENT AND INVISIBILITY: ONE STUDENT,S STORY

Nobody tells Latino kids in the high school that nobody cares if they,re Hispanic so long as they keep it to themselves. Jewish kids aren,t told that they,re sinners, and they could change into Christians if they wanted to. People don,t tell black kids they should put up with racism because they,ve come so far from when they were slaves. They don,t have to defend why there is a black history month, or why people want black studies included in the curriculum. People don,t say, “That,s so Korean! when they mean something is stupid or weird. People don,t tell disabled kids that the community isn,t ready to defend their equal rights and inclusion yet. You never hear any one argue that breast cancer is God,s way of killing off the women, and it,s a good thing. If a teacher hears anyone use a slang insult for a Chinese kid, they jump on it. When foreign exchange students ask teachers about dating in the school, they aren,t sent to see a guidance counselor.

But every day in the high school, I hear it,s okay if I,m gay so long as I stay in the closet, that I,m an abomination against God, that I can change if I want to, and that people like me shouldn,t be taught about in school. I,m told I should be satisfied because our school is far better than it used to be, and that I shouldn,t push for my equal rights and inclusion because the community isn,t ready yet. I hear, “That,s so gay! all the time, and I hear that AIDS is my punishment for being who I am, like I hear the word, “faggot all the time. It,s hard not to walk around angry all the time.

Resistance from Students

Students — some of whom may be dealing with their own feelings about relationships, sex, love, and identity in volatile ways — are likely to respond “energetically to these issues.

Many students tend to use the topic of homophobia as a vehicle to ask all kinds of questions about sex, probably because there are few avenues available for them to explore safely this general topic.

There are always some students who express very strong homophobic feelings. Some of this is the energy of youth as well as bravado expressed as a means of seeking support from peers.

Other students probably think the very same things but have been socialized to submerge some outward expressions of hostile prejudiced beliefs. In both cases, it is important for students to be able to vent a full range of emotions within acceptable parameters.

Only by airing their gut reactions can they move into a different level of discussion, which allows for change. It is also important to note that the absence of negative reactions does not necessarily indicate the absence of negative feelings.

Some students might manifest their attitudes in a number of ways — defensiveness, yelling, name-calling, obstructiveness, arguing, and withdrawal.

Such hostility can be a symptom of a host of emotions such as anger and fear — often a result of the negative stereotypes and other misinformation they have been taught.

These issues may strike too close to home and elicit powerful emotional responses.

Sometimes more sympathetic students will intervene, and a lively dialogue will then ensue. Sometimes the best thing an educator can do is just to listen.

Classroom Guidelines

Before beginning any discussion of homophobia, however, the educator should set clearly defined limits or guidelines for discussion. These could include the following:

  • All questions and opinions are appropriate to share.
  • People need to respect all ideas, with no attacks or blame.
  • Speak from personal experience; avoid generalizations; do not attempt to speak for others; Use “I statements.
  • Share air time. Take turns speaking; listen respectfully with no interruptions.
  • Respect people,s right not to participate in the discussion.
  • Be open to change some of your assumptions or opinions on the topic.
  • Anonymity must be respected. People can share information about this discussion with others outside the class only if class members, names and other identifying characteristics are not used.

Additional Strategies

  • If students are engaging in anti-gay harassment or violence anywhere on school premises, they should be disciplined in the same way that students are disciplined for any other hate-motivated act.
  • Hang educational posters around campus, to enlighten people about homophobia.
  • Provide school assemblies on the topic of homophobia and other forms of oppression.
  • Organize “Diversity Days in which students attend a variety of workshops dealing with the various forms of oppression (e.g. homophobia, racism, sexism and sexual harassment, classism, ageism, anti-Semitism, and others).
  • Sometimes, when students call one another homophobic epithets at school, the educator can use these occasions as educational opportunities in the classroom to dispel myths and stereotypes, to provide factual information concerning the historical genesis of these words, or to incorporate LGBT issue in the context of other forms of oppression.
  • Often, it is appropriate to “interrupt a homophobic remark at school or other places.

Name It, Claim It, Stop It

Kevin Berrill, former Director of the Anti-Violence Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Daryl Cummings-Wilson devised a three-phase model to empower people in the face of homophobic remarks.

Their method can be used in stopping the whole range of name-calling in certain school situations and other public settings — when you hear anti-LGBT remarks in school hallways, on a bus, in a restaurant, other general public areas.

It is used not necessarily as an “educational opportunity (i.e. teaching another person) as much as it is a way of maintaining your own integrity in standing up against harassment. It can be used in situations in which there is a low risk to your personal safety.

The three phases can be summarized as follows: “Name It, “Claim It, “Stop It. In Phase I, you name the behavior you observe (“That is harassment). In Phase 2, state how it makes you and others feel (“I don,t like that.

The other members of this class [people in this hallway, other people on this bus, in this restaurant, on this street] don,t like that). In Phase 3, tell what you want to happen (“So stop it!).

Following this sequence, you need not get involved in a dialogue or argument. You stated your concern and can leave the situation with your integrity intact.

Resistance from the Administration, School Boards, and Other School Staff

Some school administrators, school board members, and other staff and faculty have been true leaders in addressing issues of safety for LGBT students and staff.

Others, however, may not share this enthusiasm or be downright hostile to your efforts.

Many times they have either totally rejected any proposal, if one needs to be submitted, or have needed to be convinced of its merits.

Many have failed to appreciate the safety issues involved; others have simply feared the disapproval of the community or other monitoring bodies.

Some have not seen homophobia as a form of prejudice or have been unaware of its existence.

E. Van Seasholes, the principal of Newton South High School, said, “If you don’t believe that each and every student deserves our very best efforts, then you don,t belong in teaching.

At the Equity for Gay and Lesbian Students Conference: Progress and Promise in Our School held in Cambridge, Mass. in 1994, administrators, superintendents, and principals discussed different strategies groups interested in working on LGBT issues can implement to get support from their administrators. The panel suggested that groups emphasize that supporting LGBT students is simply one more way administrators help all students.

They suggested putting the fight against anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination into the context of the school, score values (e.g. fostering an appreciation of diversity).

One can emphasize that providing a safe environment for LGBT students is integral to providing a safe school environment for all students and to help students learn and live in a society filled with diversity.

Finally, they stressed the need to distinguish for administrators the difference between “supporting gay and lesbian youth and “promoting homosexuality.

The following strategies may be useful in overcoming resistance to you work

  • Contact the superintendent or school administrator early in the process, give them regular updates on the progress of the work, invite them to planning meetings, and solicit their input directly and as frequently as possible.
  • Give administrators background materials, including the answers to commonly asked questions/concerns covering LGBT issues to make it easier for them to respond to concerns addressed to them, and easier for them to be allies.
  • Plan an educational presentation for the School Committee on issues facing LGBT students. Consider including testimony from students who have witnessed or have been victimized by homophobic harassment of violence. Present them with letters of support from students, teachers, parents, and community members.
  • Submit copies of the Governor,s Commission Report, and Board of Education,s Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Gay and Lesbian Youth. The Commission report, Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Students is filled with information about LGBT youth and explains in detail why schools must address theses issues.
  • Document incidences of anti-LGBT discrimination such as homophobic slurs and graffiti, etc. If positive changes have occurred, describe these improvements. Survey students on their attitudes on LGBT issues, and solicit written testimonies from students detailing the problems some of them are facing.
  • Invite speakers from the Massachusetts Department of Education,s Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students, members of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), other teachers and administrators, or outside workshop consultants who have had success addressing the issues in other communities to address your faculty, administrators and student body.
  • Encourage resistant administrators, teachers, and other staff to attend a Regional Workshop sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education,s Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students.
  • The second Recommendation issued by the Massachusetts Board of Education states that “Schools are encouraged to offer training to school personnel in violence and suicide prevention. If students are being harassed or victimized, school professionals should be equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect LGBT students from harassment and violence by other students. Teachers and school personnel should be trained to intervene effectively when any student is harassed or threatened by other students. Experienced members of the campus community or outside consultants can facilitate these workshops.
  • Plan a LGBT and S (Straight) study group for teachers to learn more about homophobia and heterosexism.
  • Submit letters of support for your work from community members, leaders, and organizations, from students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Ask supporters to telephone and register their support.
  • Provide evidence of the success of these programs in other schools in your area and/or in other parts of the state.
  • Relate your interest in dealing with homophobia to other forms of oppression that are being addressed by your school such as racism, classism, anti-Semitism, and sexism.
  • Let the administration and staff know of possible legal repercussions of harassment of students on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. Refer to the new “Gay and Lesbian Student Rights Law. Use statistical and anecdotal information related to anti-LGBT harassment, violence, homelessness, and increased risk of drop out and suicide. If necessary, contact a legal advisor.
  • Circulate a petition to parents, students, and teachers asking that the issues be addressed by your school.
  • Work and vote for school board members taking pro-LGBT positions.

Some teachers and administrators have expressed difficulty in separating their personal beliefs about homosexuality and bisexuality from their professional responsibilities.

Educators have a responsibility to teach all students, including LGBT students. An educator who feels that homosexuality/bisexuality is morally wrong, must nevertheless not let this interfere with their professional duties and obligations to all their students.

Remind educators who profess a difficulty with separating their job from their moral beliefs, that they have, no doubt had to do this on other occasions. Most teachers encounter students they don,t particularly like for one reason or another.

They have had to put those feelings aside and this is true, as well, for students whose sexual orientation/identity makes them uncomfortable.

Also, look at your own feelings on the issue. Homophobia is pervasive throughout our society, and no one is completely immune from its corrosive effects, whether that be heterosexual allies or lesbians, gay males, bisexuals, and transgendered people.

Be realistic and try to acknowledge how you have internalized and have been limited by society,s negative notions of LGBT people. By becoming aware of and acknowledging your own feelings, you can be better prepared to move forward.

Establish a strong and active support network by cultivating alliances

  • Other school-based groups interested in civil and human rights issues.
  • Supportive faculty, administrators, and staff (guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, librarians, cafeteria and maintenance staff, etc.).
  • Supportive community individuals and groups such as community-based LGBT support groups, local PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), religious, legal, and business organizations, etc.
  • Local colleges with “diversity, “multicultural, or “social justice programs.
  • Other schools in your area that have begun to address these issues.

Once you contact your potential allies, ask them to begin networking with other people,, educating their friends and colleagues about the issues facing LGBT students.

Sometimes, people are “passively supportive. They may believe that addressing LGBT student concerns are important, but they do not know how to express their approbation and they do not know that you need and want their assistance.

It is important to reach out to members of your school and community, telling them that you want them to join you in coalition, telling them what they can do to help make your school safer for all students.

These people can help LGBT students, and can also help build consensus within the school and community that it is important to address these issues.

Supporters can write letters. Consider soliciting letters of support and appreciation from a variety of people including students, teachers, administrators, parents, alumni, influential community members, politicians, religious leaders, pediatricians, and other health professionals.

These letters can inspire other people to offer their support and can assure hesitant members of the school administration, staff, or community that there is already broad-based support for addressing these issues.

If school administrators only hear from a few but loud voices of opposition, they may think that the community in general is more resistant to LGBT student safety than it actually is.

Supporters can help LGBT students in numerous other ways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Communities can hold a public forum on issues effecting these young people.
  • Some communities have Youth Commissions that meet regularly to discuss a range of issues of concern to youth. They could begin to look at the problems unique to LGBT youth.
  • Communities and schools can create task forces dedicated to addressing the needs of young LGBTs. (For example, a Superintendent’s Task Force on LGBT Students.)
  • Stores, restaurants, community groups, and individuals can sponsor “Gay/Straight Alliances providing food for meetings, donating T-shirts, etc. For example, a local PFLAG chapter donated books for the library at Cape Cod Technical High School on behalf of their Gay/Straight Alliance.
  • Everyone can use inclusive, affirming, and gender-neutral language when referring to sexuality and human relationships in every-day speech, on written forms, etc. Say the words “lesbian, “gay, “bisexual, and “transgender each day in a positive way.
  • Teachers can incorporate issues relevant to the LGBT experience in the curricula.
  • Volunteer to become a faculty advisor of a “Gay/Straight Alliance at your school.
  • Invite the student newspaper on your campus to include articles about issues effecting LGBT students and about your Gay/Straight Alliance to increase students’ understanding of the issues.
  • Religious organizations can hold rap groups for LGBT youth, and donate space for community-based support groups.
  • Members of the Parents Teacher Organization and Parent Advisory Board can address LGBT student safety issues in their meetings and newsletters.
  • Teachers and school staff can establish themselves as allies. Some teachers have put up stickers in their classrooms that have a pink triangle and the word “ally printed on the front. Other have put up LGBT-positive posters in their classrooms.
  • Everyone can challenge homophobic jokes and epithets.
  • Read positive LGBT books and periodicals, and include them in your school or workplace libraries and offices.
  • Be aware of the generalizations you make. Assume there are LGBT people where you go to school, where you work, in your family, etc.
  • Monitor politicians, the media, and organizations to ensure accurate coverage of LGBT issues.

The Most Commonly Expressed Concerns and Ways to Respond

Schools that have already begun to address LGBT student safety, find that there are a number of concerns that students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members raise about their work. For the most part, the concerns are rooted in misperceptions about what schools are doing to protect LGBT students.

(At times, the opposition actually perpetuates misinformation and downright lies about LGBT people and what the schools are doing.)

The most commonly raised misperception is that this work is about sex, that schools are going to be teaching students about same-sex acts.

It is important to explain to people that addressing these issues is not about sex, but about student safety. (It is not about homosexuality or bisexuality, it is about homophobia and biphobia). Explain exactly what your school will be doing, why it is important, what you hope to accomplish.

Use the statistics about LGBT youth suicide, use testimony from students in your school or in other schools about anti-gay violence and harassment, use the Governor,s Commission Report and the Board of Education’s Recommendations on the Support and Safety of LGBT students to help people see that you will not be talking about sex per se, but providing support for all students in your school in creating a safer learning environment.

Another commonly expressed concern is that by addressing these issues, schools will be promoting or advocating homosexuality. (This concern sometimes stems from their assumption that “We don,t have any LGBT people here.) This concern is rooted in the myth that people only have two choices on the issues: One, to be silent and ignore LGBT issues and exclude all discussions of these issues from the schools, or Two, to promote homosexuality and advocate for LGBT rights. In reality, however, the real issue is Safety and Inclusion.

To include issues that effect LGBT students in the intellectual and social life of a school is not to advocate that students become homosexuals.

To work to protect LGBT students from violence, harassment, and self-hatred is not to promote homosexuality, as it is to promote understanding.

By including these issues in classroom discussions is simply to acknowledge the truth: That there are LGBT students, that there are students with LGBT friends, that there are students with LGBT parents or relatives.

Making schools safer for these young people does not in any way encourage students to become LGBT, nor does it try to alter anyone,s, personal, religious, or moral convictions about homosexuality.

It does, however, encourage young people of all sexual orientations and identities to be comfortable with who they and others really are.

Finally, the other most commonly expressed concern is that schools should not be dealing with LGBT issues at all, that it is not part of their mission or role.

It is important to help people understand that since schools have an obligation to educate all students and to provide them with a safe learning environment, making schools safe for LGBT students is part of their role.

What follows are some concrete strategies for getting the backing of hesitant superintendents, administrators, teachers, students, and community members as you work to make your school safer for students of all sexual orientations and identities.

Of course, every school and community is different. What works well in one school may not work in another. However, hopefully, you will find some of these ideas helpful.

Road Blocks and Responses in Addressing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Issues: Responding to Resistance from Teachers, Administrators, Students and the Community

ssues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and staff have largely been ignored or pushed aside in the schools.

There are numerous social taboos surrounding issues of sexuality and LGBT issues in particular. Bringing these issues into the spotlight may make some people anxious.

Myths may replace facts, fears may overshadow professional responsibility.

This paper looks at some of the most commonly expressed concerns and how to address them. Also included are some strategies you can use if you do encounter resistance.

Establishing a Support Network

It is important to establish a broad-based support network to help educate people that this work is about keeping students safe.

The following section provides strategies you can use to establish a support network and use your allies to not only help individual students but also to build a consensus in your community and school that this work is important and should go forward.

Having a strong, active support network will ensure that if at some point, you do encounter resistance, you will have a foundation of support and understanding from members of the student body, the faculty, the administration, and the community.

A good starting point is to develop a “personal support system, people who can help you locate and access community and school-based resources, and of extreme importance, people to whom you can turn for emotional support and comfort.

The broader the coalition you build of people supporting your work, the more effective it will eventually be in making your school safer for all students. This is true, partly because people tend to be influenced most by others who are like themselves.

For example, students will listen to other students, administrators will trust the opinions and experiences of other administrators, parents will sympathize with other parents, teachers will listen to the experiences of other teachers.

Reaching out to a broad cross-section of members of your school and community will help disseminate the information.

Further, having a broad range of support, also means having a broad range of perspectives and experiences.

This is the foundation on which a vision of inclusion is truly built, a vision that foresees a school that is safe for all students, that roots out all forms of oppression.

Therefore, emphasize to your allies that their decision to tackle the issues facing GLBT students is an indication of their personal courage and compassion and one more thing they are doing to ensure the safety of all students.

How Homophobia Hurts Everyone

(The following section comprises the theoretical foundation of the book Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price, edited by Warren J. Blumenfeld, Beacon Press, 1992.)

Within the numerous forms of oppression, members of the target group (sometimes called “minority) are OPPRESSED, while on some level members of the dominant or agent group are HURT.

Although the effects of oppression differ qualitatively for specific target and agent groups, in the end, everyone loses. By showing how oppression affects both target (in this instance LGBTs) and dominant group members (heterosexuals), we underscore the fact that, in important ways, it is indeed in everyone,s self-interest to work to combat oppression.

Such a strategy can be used to encourage those heterosexuals who may be hesitant to confront homophobia to “come on board.

Moreover, it may prevent those already willing to confront homophobia from either engaging in the dysfunctional rescue of LGBTs (inappropriately attempting to “fix it) or preventing heterosexuals from “burning out.

Listed below are some of the ways that everyone is hurt by homophobia/heterosexism.

  1. Homophobia locks all people into rigid gender-based roles that inhibit creativity and self-expression.
  2. Homophobic conditioning compromises the integrity of heterosexual people by pressuring them to treat others badly, actions contrary to their basic humanity.
  3. Homophobia inhibits one,s ability to form close, intimate relationships with members of one,s own sex.
  4. Homophobia generally restricts communication with a significant portion of the population and, more specifically, limits family relationships.
  5. Societal homophobia prevents some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from developing an authentic self-identity, and adds to the pressure to marry, which in turn places undue stress and oftentimes trauma on themselves as well as their heterosexual spouses and their children.
  6. Homophobia is one cause of premature sexual involvement, which increases the chances of teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Young people, of all sexual identities, are often pressured to become heterosexually active to prove to themselves and others that they are “normal.
  7. Homophobia combined with sexphobia (fear and repulsion of sex) results in the elimination of any discussion of the lives and sexuality of LGBT people as part of school-based sex education, keeping vital information from all students. Such a lack of information can kill people in the age of AIDS.
  8. Homophobia can be used to stigmatize, silence, and, on occasion, target people who are perceived or defined by others as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, but who are, in actuality, heterosexual.
  9. Homophobia prevents heterosexuals from accepting the benefits and gifts offered by LGBTs: theoretical insights, social and spiritual visions and options, contributions in the arts and culture, religion, family life, indeed, to all facets of society.
  10. Homophobia (along with racism, sexism, classism, sexphobia, etc.) inhibits a unified and effective governmental and societal response to AIDS.
  11. Homophobia diverts energy from more constructive endeavors.
  12. Homophobia inhibits appreciation of other types of diversity, making it unsafe for everyone because each person has unique traits not considered mainstream or dominant. Therefore, we are all diminished when any one of us is demeaned.