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October 20, 2019

Let’s Explore the Letter “K!” Oh, and Koenecke is my last name…it starts with “K.”😊

by Lisa Koenecke

This week’s blog will not be a long one, but rather paying homage to Kevin Jennings who founded the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Oh, and he was a school counselor! YEP, that’s right, a school counselor. He is just one of the famous LGBTQ+ activists we can learn about during this month, OH, that’s right, October is National LGBTQ History Month. Click here to learn more about our famous people! Kool!

https://lgbthistorymonth.com/

Kevin, as I like to call him, went to Harvard, no big deal, and in 1988 he started America’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at the Concord Academy in Massachusetts. Today, there are thousands of GSAs in our schools. There are other names for GSAs including Gender Sexuality Alliance and many others. Read on to learn more about Kevin Jennings in these exerpts from the National Education Association’s, Cindy Long.

An Interview with Kevin Jennings, Founder of GLSEN: Safe Schools for Everyone (full article linked)

By Cindy Long, NEA Sr. Writer/Editor

When Kevin Jennings taught history in Rhode Island 10 years ago, he saw students verbally bullied and harassed to the breaking point. It reminded him of the torment of the endless name-calling he suffered when he was in school.

But when the bullying among his students began to turn physical, he decided he had to do something to make school a safer place for everyone. That’s when he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

GLSEN is a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN works with educators, students, and the community to help children learn to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

https://www.glsen.org/

I have used GLSEN for numerous resources and applaud the organization for celebrating our community, especially the youth. Here is my article on GLSEN, “Geez, That’s alot of “G’s.” The “S” in GLSEN stands for straight, without our straight allies, we would be facing an uphill battle every day! In 2015, I was a national semi-finalist for GLSEN’s National Educator of the Year…how’s that for a fun fact? Sorry I didn’t win…oh well.

Kevin Jennings was named Lambda Legal’s CEO in 2019…watch for more on that maybe next week as we explore the letter “L”. Lovely! See what I did there?

Short and sweet for the letter “K” this week. Your call to action? Please learn more about famous LGBTQ people during October. Let’s get some of them in our school curriculum, right?

https://lgbthistorymonth.com/

Please check out GLSEN’s website for free resources, to register your school for educational materials and to mark your calendars for these awareness weeks:

Oh, and if you’re still reading this, I was selected to do a TEDx talk in February. Kool, right? It is a bucket list of mine…Hooray! More to come on that…Happy LGBTQ History Month!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Read more from LGBT Resources A to Z

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