Tips for Keeping Your GSA and its Members Safe:
Make sure your meeting space is secure
If members of your club don’t feel comfortable continuing to meet in the room you’ve been meeting in, consider moving it to a more discreet or secluded location. Make sure your members have a plan to get to and from the meeting safely. Depending on the safety levels on your campus, you may want to consider not putting the meeting room location on your flyers or in the school announcements.
Stay Connected and Communicate Often
- Know your school’s reporting process for incidents of harassment
- Refresh your GSA on your community agreements (including the “Vegas Rule” – what’s said here, stays here and what’s learned here, leaves here).
- Build a network of safety & solidarity by coalition building with other school clubs and groups such as BSAs, Muslim Students Association, Social Justice Club, etc.
- Encourage your GSA members to identify their support network: Who can they text if they are feeling down? Who can they call for a safe ride somewhere? Is there an ally they’ve identified as a bathroom safety buddy?
- Create an alert system to notify each other of your location and be familiar with each other’s schedules, so you will know if someone did not show up when they are supposed to
- Arrange safe transportation to/from events or meetings Safety apps
- Work with your GSA Advisor to identify supportive adults in your schools you can go to (Advisors, see tips below)
Know Your Rights
In the aftermath of North Carolina’s HB2 and the impending lawsuit of G.G V. Gloucester County School Board it is imperative that trans and queer youth have the tools to advocate for their rights. Below are some tips on how to report interactions with the police, what to do if you’re harassed at school, and information on your rights.
- Cop Watch – Is a network of organizations that document and observe police brutality and ` misconduct.
- Transgender Rights Toolkit – Lambda Legal – A legal guide for trans people and advocates; addresses name change, fighting anti-trans violence, restroom access, etc.
- What To Do If You’re Harassed – Explains a step-by-step process for filing a complaint when you’re harassed on campus.
- Trans Student Rights – This resource explains the various forms of discrimination trans youth may experience and ways in which educators can be more inclusive to trans and gender nonconforming students.
- How the Law Protects LGBTQ Youth – Lambda Legal – This resource lists laws and policies that prohibit discrimination based on your sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Relying on our Allies/Accomplices
- Be an ally/accomplice to other communities – this means using your privilege and power to stand up for the safety of other marginalized communities.
- Allies/Accomplices – be available to accompany friends to the bathroom.
- Bystander/Upstander – directly intervene in situations of harassment and speak out against hateful comments. Interrupting Harassment
- Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
- Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
- Text an Anonymous Crisis Counselor at 741741
Adult Advisors Showing Up
Adults are in a unique position to encourage young people in cultivating youth power. Adults should model respectful and inclusive behavior, set expectations by interrupting bullying and harassment, and thank young people for intervening when harassment occurs. When adults fail to address racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, etc., they send the message to young people that it’s acceptable to ignore and perpetuate these oppressions.
- Gender Spectrum – Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools
- National Association of School Psychologists – Promoting Compassion and Acceptance in a Crisis
- National Education Association – Intervene in a Bullying Incident
- Teaching Tolerance – School Administrators: Are You Ready?
- Educators for Fair Consideration – Supporting Undocumented Students
- Racial Justice Network (UK) – Five Ways to Disrupt Racism (Video)