Project THRIVE Partner Convening
On June 2, 2023, I attended the Project THRIVE Partner Convening meeting along with AASL Staff, Allison Cline and Jen Habley. Project THRIVE is a “multi-year national campaign to create more equitable, inclusive support systems and communities for LGBTQ+ youth” produced by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. Project THRIVE has a large number of partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the National Education Association (NEA), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and many more. AASL has been a partner with Project Thrive since August 2020 with the goal of collaborating to support LGBTQ+ youth in our learning communities.
HRC organized the convening meeting to brainstorm ideas about how the partners can work together to support LGBTQ+ youth during this unprecedented time. HRC shared their map of attacks on gender-affirming care by state and the statistic that 30.9% of transgender youth aged 13-17 live in states that have passed bans on gender-affirming care. HRC acknowledged that there are several suits challenging these laws; but believes that court cases take time. Transgender youth need to feel supported now and throughout the time that the cases are making their way through courts.
An impactful part of the meeting was the HRC Youth Panel featuring three HRC Youth Ambassadors. The HRC Youth Ambassadors responded to questions about how adults and allies can best support them. A common thread throughout their answers was about intersectionality. LGTBQ+ youth want their entire selves to be acknowledged by others. LGBTQ+ youth, just like other youth, have individual interests and activities – they are musicians, athletes, artists, etc. Each individual is unique. The ambassadors felt that recognizing this and getting to know them is an important way to support them.
HRC also announced that they are preparing a report with data from HRC’s 2022 National Youth Survey. The report will include data that can be used by Project THRIVE partners in their work to advocate for and support LGBTQ+ Youth. Samples of data resulting from the survey include the mean age that students realized that they were not straight is 11.1 years and 46% of LGBTQ+ youth have felt unsafe in one or more school settings (such as locker room, bathroom, school bus).
Project THRIVE wants to focus on more collaborative efforts with partners in the coming year. So, watch for new webinars similar to the Project THRIVE webinar “The Power of Representation in Books” offered last fall in partnership with AASL. In addition, Project THRIVE and its partners will be publishing a “2023 Back to School Checklist” to promote safety, inclusion, and well-being for LGBTQ+ students and youth. AASL will share this checklist as soon as it is finalized.
HRC and Project Thrive have many resources which can be used by partner organizations. There is a glossary of terms that can be used to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity. They also referenced a recent Seventeen magazine article: “A Brief History of the LGBTQ+ Acronym” which also included a glossary of terms. HRC’s Welcoming Schools has booklists, lessons, secondary instructional guides, and more. I highly recommend subscribing to Project THRIVE’s monthly newsletter. Fill out the form found here to subscribe.
June is PRIDE Month
HRC highlighted at the meeting that June is PRIDE month. Although we must support LGBTQ+ students and youth all year long, we can help educate others and celebrate LGBTQ+ students during June. The AASL School Library Event Promotion Committee has put together some wonderful resources for professional learning and student engagement for PRIDE month. Check out the great resources they have curated at:
Author: Kathy Lester, AASL President 2022-2023
Categories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion