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newsletter winter


  • pg 1
         The Newsletter of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network
                             Winter 2001

GSA NETWORK SUES                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS:
VISALIA SCHOOL DIS-                           1...........Lawsuit; ED’s Letter:
TRICT Lawsuit Seeks to End Anti-                           Statewide Expansion
Gay Harassment of Students and Calls          2...........About Us
for School Reform                             3...........OHMY
          The ACLU of Northern California     4...........High Contrast
filed an expanded lawsuit on January 24,      5...........Exposure
2001 in U.S. District Court on behalf of a    6...........Youth Empowerment
former high school student and the Gay-       7...........Expansion cont.; New Staff
Straight Alliance Network in an effort to
                                              8-9.......Scholarship Info
end the severe harassment and discrimi-
nation of students who are gay or lesbian
                                              10-11...Trans Portal
or who are perceived to be gay or lesbian     12.........Peer Education
in the Visalia Unified School District        13.........Lawsuit cont.
(VUSD). The lawsuit charges that stu-         14.........Donate Now; Fundraising Tips
dents are pervasively harassed because        15.........Thank You to 2000 Donors
of their actual or perceived sexual orien-
tation by school administrators, teachers,    Exec. Director’s Letter:
and classmates, who refer to them in
school as "faggots," "queers," and
                                              GSA NETWORK
"homos." Some students are even phys-         EXPANDS STATEWIDE
ically assaulted by other students based                I am proud to announce GSA
on their sexual orientation. The lawsuit      Network’s exciting statewide expansion
seeks to eliminate the hostile and intoler-   in 2001! Over 200 GSAs are expected
ant climate through reforms that will         to be registered with us by the end of the
change the current policies and practices     school year. The statewide expansion
in the Visalia Unified School District.       will give GSA Network the opportunity to
          George Loomis, a plaintiff and      network GSAs across regions and devel-
former high school student at Golden          op a stronger voice in statewide educa-
West High School in Visalia, had filed a      tion and LGBTQ issues, such as imple-
federal complaint against the VUSD on         mentation of AB 537.
his own behalf last September. By filing                Until recently, GSA Network
its amended complaint today, the ACLU         was a Bay Area organization. We quick-
continues to seek monetary damages on         ly grew to include all of Northern
behalf of Loomis while calling for school     California and, just last Fall, dropped
reform on behalf of the Gay Straight          “Bay Area” from our official name.
Alliance Network and its members.             Within months, we opened an office in
          "We are filing this lawsuit today   Fresno to intensify efforts in the Central
because the Visalia Unified School            Valley and better serve the local needs

                           cont. on page 13                              cont. on page 7
Youth Council:              Lauren Bruton

                                                                                                           O H M Y
              Monta Vista HS, Cupertino
                             Nick Candau
                    Branson School, Ross
                               Max Cohen
                    Lincoln HS, San Jose
                              Katy Conley
             Casa Grande HS, Petaluma
                                                                                                    Overcoming Homophobia Meeting for Youth
                          Zach Davenport

                                                                                            A conference to empower youth and support
             Watsonville HS, Watsonville
                        Christian Dietkus
                                                           Northern California
                   Miramonte HS, Orinda
                Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum                    965 Mission St., Suite 218          Gay-Straight Alliances in Bay Area schools.
             Marin Academy, San Rafael                   San Francisco, CA 94103
                        Butch Greenblatt                      p: 415.442.4726                OHMY is a free conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-
                   Aragon HS, San Mateo                       f: 415.442.4727                gender, queer, questioning, and straight ally youth dedicated
                           Tiffany Holder
                Pinole Valley HS, Pinole                         Central Valley             to fostering safe schools and youth activism. The conference
                          Sheilah Jackson                       985 N. Van Ness               is open to all youth and allies, with a focus on students in
           San Lorenzo HS, San Lorenzo
                                                                Fresno, CA 93728
                      Michael Pignatiello
                                                                 p: 559.442.4777                 middle school and high school. Teachers are invited!
                         Tracy HS, Tracy
                            Jody Hannibal                        f: 559.442.4734
                       Soquel HS, Soquel
                                                                                                Workshop Topics:
                          Daniel Melleno
        School of the Arts, San Francisco
                          Rebecca Terhar                                                                                                             Questions?
           Menlo-Atherton HS, Atherton
                                                                                            • How to start a kick-ass GSA/                     Contact OHMY organizers
                  Kaiya Wertheim-Knapp
                     Skyline HS, Oakland
                                                    Mission Statement:                         Youth Empowerment                               or call 415.703.6150x39.
                         Geoffrey Winder
                         Davis HS, Davis         Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a         • Health issues
                         Greg Zhovreboff         youth-led organization that connects                                                           Want to volunteer?
          Washington HS, San Francisco
                                                 school-based Gay-Straight Alliances
                                                                                            • Activism/history/art/expression
 Advisory Board:           Kris Hayashi          (GSAs) to each other and to community      • Diversity issues
                                                                                                                                                Call OHMY organizers at
                               Taj James                                                                                                          415.703.6150x39 or
                                                 resources. Through peer support, lead-
                           Sydney King
                            Julie Lienert                                                   • Race, class, gender, ability                              e-mail
                                                 ership development, and training, the
                             Radha Patel
                           Robert Perez          Network supports young people in           • Teacher/advisor topics
                      Robyn Richardson           starting, strengthening, and sustaining
                      Katherine Ulveling
                                                 GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs
Staff/Interns:              Diana Bohn
                           Emilie Eagan          to:
                           Nia Hamilton            1. Create safe environments in schools
                                                                                                                                         Mission High School
                           Carolyn Laub
                            Taryn Levitt
                            Jill Shenker
                                                 for students to support each other and
                                                 learn about homophobia and other
                                                                                               February 24th                             3750 18th @Church
 Submit articles, artwork, calen-                     2. Educate the school community
 dar items, or announcements:                    about homophobia, gender identity, and                          Registration is free!
   965MissionSt.Suite 218,                       sexual orientation issues;
  San Francisco, CA, 94103                         3. Fight discrimination, harassment,      Register online at
           or e-mail to                          and violence in schools.                                                                  Sponsored by LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center), the
                           GSA Network is a project of the Tides Center.                     Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the San Francisco Unified School District.

                                        • page 2 •                                                                           • page 3 •
   High Contrast: On the Road                                                         • • • Exposure • • •
          High Contrast in on the road these days. The photo-narrative exhib-           go, the Washington High School Gay-Straight Alliance, in
it created by GSA Network and LYRIC youth has been met with incredible           partnership with the GSA Network, hosted Exposure, a gala
support and enthusiasm. At the premier of the exhibit at Creating Change
                                                                                 reception to celebrate the High Contrast exhibit's introduction to
(the annual conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), we
                                                                                 San Francisco High Schools, on Wednesday, February 7th.
received invitations for High Contrast to come to communities nationwide.
                                                                                 High Contrast is an exhibit using art as a means for change --
And here in the California twice as many schools have requested to host the
                                                                                 to show people what they may not choose to see, to incite dia-
exhibit than we are able to accomodate from January to June-- all this is to
                                                                                 logue and to inspire transformation. Created by a group of les-
say that people are really excited about High Contrast's potential as a trans-
                                                                                 bian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight ally youth, High
formational tool in schools and communities.
                                                                                 Contrast is an organizing and education tool to confront dis-
          The High Contrast tour began at Palo Alto High School, where GSA
                                                                                 crimination in schools. Exposure featured the premier of
members led discussions of heterosexism before classes went to view the
exhibit. The reaction of students, teachers, and administrators was very pos-
                                                                                 gOnline and, student artwork by the
itive. It has also toured at Santa Cruz High, Pinole Valley High, Washington
                                                                                 Washington High School GSA, spoken word by RESYST (a
High (see related article on page 5), and Mission High School. From now                                                  queer youth poetry
until June, High Contrast will be making appearances throughout Northern                                                 group), and a fabulous
California at more than 20 schools.                                                                                      benefit auction for High
                                                                                                                         Contrast that raised sev-
Voices from the road:                                                                                                    eral hundred dollars.
““Seeing the exhibit yesterday
                                                                                                                         The event was attended
made me stop and think about
                                                                                                                         by about 100 people,
the many things I might think or
                                                                                                                         and was mc'ed by Greg
say about people who are gay.”
                                                                                                                         Zhovreboff, a senior at
“Our school is full of people who                                                                                        Washington, one of the
are either anti-gay, naive, or indif-                                                                                    coordinators for "go get
ferent to the “isms”...the exhibit                                                                                       out" and one of GSA
allowed new faces to be exposed                                                                                          Network's Youth Council
to what is really important in our                                                                                       members.
lives: being ourselves and being                                                                                          High Contrast remained
able to accept that.”                                                                                                    at Washington for a
      - Pinole Valley HS students                                                                                        week, where classes
                Check out                                                                                                used the exhibit as a tool                                                                                               for looking at and dis-
             to see what                                                                                                 cussing issues such as
        a l l t h e excitement                                                                                           homophobia and racism.
                 is about.                       photo by Tiffany Holder         photo by Kaiya Wertheim-Knapp
                                   • page 4 •                                                               • page 5 •
                                                                          cont from page 1
                                                                          of youth organizing GSAs in the conservative region. We hired Diana Bohn
          Youth Empowerment...                                            as a Community Organizer based in the Fresno office (read more about
      Not Just an Overused Buzzword                                       Diana below). Our office is based out of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence.
                                                                          Since there are very few GSAs already established in schools in the Central
                        by Emilie Eagan                                   Valley, Diana is spearheading the development of community-based GSAs
                                                                          in the Fresno and Visalia areas (for more info on Visalia, see related front-
                                                                          page article).
The Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth empowerment organi-                   In January, GSA Network announced its statewide expansion and
zation. What does this mean?                                              posted a job announcement for a full-time Community Organizer for the
                                                                          Southern California region. The Community Organizer, who is expected to
In a basic sense, youth empowerment means a process of young
                                                                          be hired in March, will set up our office in Los Angeles and begin networking
folks becoming and remaining self-confident, engaged in issues            GSAs in the region. Many GSAs from the Southern California region have
which affect us, able to recognize our own needs, and willing to speak    already begun registering to join GSA Network and anticipate it will fill a great
out and take action for change. Youth empowerment happens when            need in Southern California. We’re excited and hope you’ll join us in spread-
youth envision, work for, and create a better world, and it is based on   ing the word about our expansion statewide!                - Carolyn Laub
the belief that we can make a difference and that our actions are an
important part of a larger movement.                                                   How to reach GSA Network’s Central Valley office ...
                                                                                         address: 985 N. Van Ness, Fresno, CA 93728
Youth empowerment also means certain kinds of organization-build-                             ph: 559.442.4777 fax: 559.442.4734
ing and a commitment to meaningful youth leadership, voice, and                                   email:
decision-making. For the GSA Network, organizational youth empow-
erment strategies include: having an all-youth decision-making body,      Welcome to new GSA N e t w o r k S t a f f
or Board, of the organization (Youth Council); undertaking youth-initi-   Member, Diana Bohn!
ated and youth-led projects and setting youth-driven priorities; hiring
youth staff members; placing youth in facilitator roles; and engaging     Diana Bohn is GSA Network’s Community Organizer in the
in youth-led planning processes for events, programs, and long-term       Central Valley. She set up the Fresno office and will work
goals.                                                                    half-time supporting youth in the Central Valley. She is an
                                                                          ordained clergywoman in the United Methodist Church
For GSA advisors and other adults who work with youth, youth              with14 years experience as primary program staff in jus-
empowerment means taking an approach which gives young people             tice and advocacy at Wesley Church in Fresno. Wesley was
a chance to guide the direction of the organization while learning and    the second United Methodist Church in the country (15
developing leadership skills. This process relies on clearly defined      years ago) to declare itself open to the GLBT community,
youth/adult roles, as well as consistent evaluations of group dynam-      and is currently the leading progressive religious voice in
ics. It can break down when we are tokenized or patronized, or when       the Central Valley. Diana’s organizational affiliations have
we are denied access to the power structures which govern us.             included: Clergy and Laity Concerned, San Joaquin Valley
                                                                          Exchange Works, and the establishment and leadership of
What does youth empowerment mean to you? Youth empower-
                                                                          an on-going support group called “All Together Different”
ment is a philosophy, set of strategies, and process which needs to
                                                                          for children and youth whose parents are gay, lesbian,
be understood on many levels in order to be effective. Use this per-
                                                                          bisexual, or transgender. Gender-fluidity, athleticism and
spective or come up with your own to evaluate the programs and            motherhood are among the most celebrated dimensions
organizations you are a part of, and think of ways to promote mean-       of Diana's identity. To reach Diana, you can email her at
ingful youth empowerment within them.                           
                              • page 6 •                                                                    • page 7 •
                                                      GSA RESOURCES
Scholarships!        Need money for college? Check out these scholarship                George Choy Memorial Scholarship/Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (Bay Area)
opportunities and find one that’s right for you. For more info on scholarships          Who’s Eligible: Asian/Pacific Islanders graduating from Bay Area high schools
for LGBTQ and straight-ally students, visit                 (counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa
                                                                                        Clara, Napa, Sonoma and Solano). You must have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Peninsula PFLAG                                                                         Amount: The award amount varies. Deadline: June 15.
Who’s Eligible: High school seniors at a public or private schools in San Mateo or      For more information: Write to The Horizons Foundation, 870 Market Street, Suite
Santa Clara counties who are planning to attend, full or part-time, an accredited two   1155, San Francisco, CA 94102 or call 415-398-2333.
or four year college/university/technical school in the Fall of 2001. Candidates must
be in good academic standing with their current high school, and must have              Bobby Griffith Memorial Scholarship (Contra Costa County)
demonstrated support for justice and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-     Who’s Eligible: Graduating seniors from Contra Costa County.
gendered persons in their community.                                                    Amount: The scholarship amount varies.
Amount: Five scholarships of $1000 each will be offered.                                For more information: Write to GLSEN, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, P.O.
Deadline: April 3, 2001.                                                                Box 30482, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.
For more information: Write to PFLAG Scholarships, 690 Persian Dr., #57,
Sunnyvale, CA 94089, or call 408-745-1736, or 408-269-8418.                             Peter Kaufman Memorial Scholarship
                                                                                        Who’s Eligible: GLBT high school seniors who have been active in the community.
Lee Dubin Scholarship for Daughters and Sons of LGBT Parents
                                                                                        Amount: $1,000 per year.
Who’s Eligible: High school seniors or undergraduate college students who are
                                                                                        For more information: Contact Kathy J. Gill, Director, Gay & Lesbian Education
daughters or sons of LGBT parents and who have financial need.
                                                                                        Commission, Los Angeles Unified School District, Room 242, 450 N. Grand
Amount: Several scholarships of up to $1,000 each will be offered.
                                                                                        Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012, 213-625-6392.
Deadline: Postmarked by April 4, 2001.
For more information: For an application or questions, call COLAGE at 415-861-          PG&E/LGBEA and GLSEN
5437 or email                                                        Who’s Eligible: Graduating high school seniors in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin,
The Transgender Scholarship and Education Legacy Fund -The                              Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma or Solano counties.
International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE)                                    Amount: Ranges from $500 to $1,000.
Who’s Eligible: Post-secondary students who have a demonstrated ability in and          For more information: Write to PG&E LGBEA/GLSEN Scholarship Committee,
commitment to affecting change in the transgender communities through their com-        P.O. Box 191311, San Francisco, CA 94119-1311.
mitment to working and being educated in the helping and caring professions. We
seek to reflect a broad range of interests, including social services, HIV/AIDS edu-    The Joseph Towner Fund for Gay and Lesbian Families
cation, law, teaching & education, religious instruction (all denominations), medical   Who’s Eligible: Postsecondary students with at least one gay or lesbian parent
and health care as well as the sciences.                                                residing in the Bay Area (counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco,
Amount: Numerous awards of varying amounts will be given.                               San Mateo, Santa Clara, Napa, Sonoma and Solano). Must be 25 years old or
Deadline: Postmarked by February 1st for Spring awards, August 1st for Fall.            younger and have a GPA of 2.5 or better.
                                                                                        Amount: award of $500 per term, $1,000 per academic year, with a lifetime maxi-
For more information:
                                                                                        mum of $4,000. Deadline: June 15.
An Uncommon Legacy                                                                      For more information: Write to The Horizons Foundation, 870 Market Street, Suite
Who’s Eligible: Both undergraduate and graduate students. Consideration will be         1155, San Francisco, CA 94102 or call 415-398-2333.
given to academic performance, honors, personal or financial hardship and espe-
cially service to the lesbian/gay community.                                            LEAGUE Foundation Scholarship Fund
Amount: $1,000. Deadline: May 1.                                                        Who’s Eligible: Seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA who are actively and substantially
For more information: Write to the Scholarship Committee, An Uncommon Legacy            involved in community service, identify as LGBT.
Foundation, Inc., 150 West 26th Street, Suite 503, New York, NY, 10001 or call          Amount: $1000
212-366-6507.                                                                           For more information: Visit

                                    • page 8 •                                                                             • page 9 •
                                                                                     the binary system of woman/man,         Now, here are some things you
                                                                                     gay/straight, passive/aggressive,       can do to challenge the gender
           Welcome                                                                   white/black, right/wrong. It means
                                                                                     questioning, bending, and decon-
                                                                                                                             box everyday:

         to the Trans                        Hold on to your gender                  structing. The very word transgen-      1. Use gender neutral pronouns for
            Portal                              assignment, you are                  der has the power to revolutionize      everyone you meet, ex. Ze and Hir
                                                         about to be                 thinking. I see the word transgen-      2. Don't assume male or female for
           by Taryn Levitt                             Trans Ported.
                                                                                     der as a philosophy, a way of life,     anyone you meet
                                                                                     and a means of connection. Since        3. Write about yourself from another
                                                                                     the second we were born, we             gender identity
                                                                                     stepped in gender. We breathe in        4. Dress, behave, talk, and act out-
         Which of the following accurately describes you?                            gender everyday. It is our gender       side of your constructed gender role
         A. I'm a real man           B. I'm a real woman                             presentation and our gender
         C. I'm not a real man or a real woman, but Id like to be
                                                                                     expression that controls how we fit.    And finally, some trans
         D. None of the above, I'm something else entirely
                                                                                     We have gender assignments every        resources:
         Has it ever happened that you've been in a group of people who              second and we are graded on our
         are similarly gendered to you, and you find yourself behaving in a          performance while trying desperate-     If you only have time to read two
         way that is gender inappropriate?                                           ly to graduate and receive our per-     books in your lifetime make them
         A. No B. No, I'm very careful about that C. Yes                             fectly gendered degree. Pass or fail.   My Gender Workbook by Kate
         D. Yes, it happens all the time.                                            Those who can't walk the tightrope      Bornstein* (which is where the excit-
                                                                                     don't cut it. Let's go back to the      ing quiz I used in the beginning is
         Have you ever been mistaken for being a member of a gender                  beginning. What is a real man or a      from) and Trans Liberation by Leslie
         other than that which you think you are presenting
                                                                                     real woman? Aren't the answers          Feinberg.
         A. No B. Yes C. Yes, but not as frequently as before
         D. I intentionally try to confuse people                                    changing every day for every per-
                                                                                     son and are there really universal      If you are looking for 2 good movies
         How many genders do you really think there are?                             answers anyway? What if there           try Boys Don't Cry and Ma Vie En
         A. Two B. well , there are two sexes. Is that what you mean?                aren't? What if what they tell us is    Rose.
         C. I'm going to guess there are lots of genders and two sexes               built on stereotypes and myths? I
         D. When do you want me to stop counting?*                                   say take this and run with it. Try on   And finally if you want some amaz-
                                                                                     different genders like hats. Jump off   ing rock-your-gender music try
         Are you ready for this?            and blue muscular hormone driven         the tightrope. Write outside of punc-   Angela Motter, Bitch and Animal,
Every one of you who has just read          arrogant strong unemotional bring        tuation. Create yourself.               The Butchies, and Tribe 8.
these questions and attempted to            home the bacon suits and screams
answer them has transgressed gen-           PUT THESE ON OR ELSE! Do you             *** somewhere in between and            Ok, go on. Shake the gender filled
der. Don't panic, you have done             think this actually fits anyone?         somewhere beyond searching for          ground we walk on.
nothing wrong! By merely question-          There are those who can fake it,         more colors than pink and blue
ing gender itself, you are breaking         masquerading in outfits they have        things aren't always as they seem
the shell, deconstructing the con-          been told all their life to wear. Then   femme butch fag boychick drag king
structed, and thinking outside the          there are those who use gender as        dominant submissive gender queer
so-called perfectly shaped box. We          a tool, as a performance piece, as a     pansexual changing moving trans-
                                                                                                                             [Taryn Levitt is a 24 year old queer
all know it is impossible to fit into the   constantly changing lump of clay,        gressing questioning bending
                                                                                                                             activist and Community Organizer
roles we are supposed to live com-          and as a fluid creation. This is what    laughing breaking being ***
                                                                                                                             for the GSA Network, spending free
fortably in. Society throws us pink         the word transgender means to me.
                                                                                     There you go. Create your own nar-      time bending gender and changing
nurturing make-up smeared perfume           It means laughing at traditional gen-
                                                                                     rative.                                 the world.]
covered passive form-fitting dresses        der roles. It means going beyond
                                   • page 10 •                                                                       • page 11 •
                                                                        cont from page 1                                  ple spit on me or called me 'fag' or

     Peer Education Trainings
                                                                        District and its employees are depriving          'homo' and no one did anything to stop
                                                                        students who are gay or lesbian or per-           it. During my senior year, a teacher
                                                                        ceived to be gay or lesbian of their con-         repeatedly made statements about 'fag-
                                                                        stitutional rights to equality and due            gots'-referring to me-in front of the
                                                                        process under the law," said Robert               whole class. Everyone laughed at me,
                                                                        Kim, attorney with the ACLU of                    and it encouraged other students to call
Last year, GSA Network piloted a Peer Education Training in Contra                                                        me derogatory names too. When I
                                                                        Northern California. "When public offi-
Costa County and now we are expanding it full-scale. These train-                                                         reported this to the administrators, none
                                                                        cials not only ignore pleas for help by
ings bring LGBTQQ and straight ally students together to learn how      gay and lesbian students but in some              of them did anything about it. That is
to educate other youth on combatting homophobia in schools. They        cases contribute to the harassment that           why it is so important that this be
serve to prepare students to lead anti-homophobia workshops them-       they are experiencing, the result is an           stopped; there are too many students
                                                                        unsafe and hostile environment in which           who suffer in silence and are deprived
selves. The Peer Education Trainings not only teach valuable skills                                                       of their education simply because of
                                                                        learning is all but impossible."
on such topics as facilitation, personal story sharing, interactive               The lawsuit charges that stu-           their sexual orientation."
classroom exercises, and workshop outline suggestions but they          dents at VUSD schools are persistently                      "I think it is critical that this cli-
also show to to transform these skills into action.                     harassed on the basis of their actual or          mate of intolerance in the Visalia
                                                                        perceived sexual orientation; that stu-           schools be stopped" said Carolyn Laub,
                                                                        dents are being harassed by their own             Executive Director of GSA Network. "In
This year, GSA Network has trained students in the Peer Resource                                                          surveys conducted in California
                                                                        teachers and school administrators; that
class at Galileo Academy in San Francisco. Following that, we           VUSD promotes and fosters a hostile               schools, we have found that 53% of
trained a group of predominantly straight allies in the Peer            environment for gays and lesbians and             students at public and private high
Assistance class at Tennyson High School in Hayward. Most               those perceived as gay or lesbian; that           schools surveyed indicated that each
                                                                        teachers and administrators routinely             day they hear homophobic comments at
recently, GSA Network collaborated with the Safe Schools Project of                                                       school. The same survey shows that
                                                                        ignore student complaints about
Catholic Charities of the East Bay, GLSEN SF-EB, Pacific Center,        harassment; and that VUSD coun-                   84% of students surveyed said that
and the Queer Youth Action Team of Center for Human                     selors, teachers and administrators               teachers or administrators never or
Development, to conduct a peer education training at El Cerrito High    encourage gay and lesbian students to             rarely intervene when anti-gay com-
                                                                        discontinue their education in favor of           ments are made. How can a student
School for youth from the GSAs at El Cerrito and Pinole Valley High                                                       who is gay or lesbian feel safe, much
                                                                        "alternative education" or independent
Schools. These students then led anti-homophobia workshops at                                                             less learn, in such an environment?"
                                                                        study programs that are not designed
Richmond High School. In February, a group of peer educators            for these students.                                         Members of GSA include
from GSAs in Acalanes Union High School District were similarly                   In addition to making federal           Geoffrey Smith, parent of a five-year-old
trained.                                                                constitutional claims, the lawsuit is one         child who will be attending a VUSD ele-
                                                                        of the first to utilize the C a l i f o r n i a   mentary school this fall. "As a con-
                                                                        Student        Safety      &     Violence         cerned parent, I can't imagine allowing
GSA Network's Peer Education Trainings teach youth how to: under-       Prevention Act of 2000 (AB 537), a                my daughter to go to school in that type
stand and teach definitions (such as "homophobia" and "transgen-        measure sponsored by state Senator                of environment," said Smith. "I ask
der"); lead many powerful exercises and activities; share personal      Sheila Kuehl and passed in 1999, which            myself, what kinds of things will she
                                                                        forbids discrimination based on actual            have witnessed by the time she gets to
stories; educate others on how and why to be an ally; develop your                                                        high school? What message will she be
                                                                        or perceived sexual orientation or gen-
own workshop outline; and practice facilitating by learning effective                                                     getting? Could she be harassed her-
                                                                        der identity in any state-funded school
ways to respond to challenging scenarios.                               in California.                                    self? It's totally unacceptable to me.
                                                                                  "As a former student at Golden          Kids are there to learn, not fend for their
If you or your GSA are interested in Peer Education Trainings or        West High School, I faced unrelenting             safety."
would like a copy of our do-it-yourself peer education resource         harassment from my peers and in some              The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys at the
                                                                        instances, from my teachers," said                ACLU of Northern California and the law firm of
sheet, contact Taryn at or 415.442.4726.           George Loomis, a plaintiff in the case.           Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.
                                                                                                                          To learn more about the lawsuit and read the com-
                                                                        "In the classrooms and hallways, peo-             plaint, visit

                            • page 12 •                                                                          • page 13 •
                                                    • page 15 •                                                                                                • page 14 •
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                                                                                                                                age of the money. If you’d like to set up a fundraiser at a Ben & Jerry’s
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                                                                                                                                tomer that mentioned the Lynbrook GSA that night, the club got a percent-
                                                                                                                                School in San Jose did this at Ben & Jerry’s one evening. For every cus-
                                                                                                                                tion of their profits (from a given block of time) to your GSA. Lynbrook High
                        San Francisco, CA, 94103.                                                                                        • Get a local business to help you raise money by donating a por-
                        965 Mission St., Suite 218                                                                              ty organization or charity.
                                                                                                                                GSA. You might also consider donating part of the proceeds to a communi-
                “Tides Center/GSA Network” and send to:
                                                                                                                                         • Sponsor a play, concert, or other cultural event to benefit your
              (, or make a check out to                                                                      3. Engage in fundraising as a club activity.
                  “Donate Now” button on our website                                                                            up phone calls.
                                                                                                                                for a specific amount. If you send a letter, instead, be sure to make follow-
                    To make a donation, click on the                                                                            friends, co-workers, etc. For the best response, ask face-to-face and ask
                                                                                                                                2. Have GSA members do individual fundraising among relatives, family
                                                                                                                                access to school funds or resources (such as photocopying and mailing).
                                                                 Lane/Colford Family                                            meet with a school administrator to see if there are ways your club can get
   Matthew Wolf                                                                                                                 1. Explore the funding avenues at your school. Ask your advisor, or
                                                                 Mary Kussmaul & Marc Felton
   Jonathan & Marianne Wolf                                      Julie & Glen Kohl                                               washes! Here are some other great ideas...
   Lynn & Gil Villagran                                          Rita Jensen                                                     There’s more to fund raising for your student club than bake sales and car
   Betsy Temple                                                  Christopher & Dectora Jeffers                                                Ideas for Fund Raising for Your GSA
     Dohany                                                      David & Catherine Holder
   Winston Stephens & John                                       Margaret Hoffman
   Ben & Wanda Steffens                                          Nat E. Hales Jr.                                                          Be sure to check out our new Donate Now! button at
   Stephen & Ann Miller Ravel                                       Gunasekera
   John Rasche                                                   Christopher & Sarojini                                           nology to ensure that a donor's information is kept private and secure.
                                                                                                                                  tions are processed by, utilizing the newest secure tech-
   Jack & Margaret Prost                                         Ira Goldman                                                      profit internet foundation created by the Tides Foundation. All dona-
   Joanne Pritchard                                              Corrine Flanagan                                                 The Donate Now! feature is made possible through, a non-
   Radha Patel                                                   Arvada Darnell                                                   supporters in a low-cost way."
   Jessica Meyer                                                 Jean Cohen                                                       rent supporters to contribute to our work and the ability to reach new
   Anne McNeilley                                                Robert Carr                                                      "We are very excited because it offers a safe and easy way for our cur-
   Mazdak Mazarei                                                Andrew Berner                                                    important step in our efforts to grow our grassroots membership base.
   Richard & Nancy Lobell                                        James & Patricia Beall                                           Carolyn Laub, GSA Network's Executive Director, feels that it is an
   Jane Levikow & Jan Speller                                    Jack & Harriet Barnett                                           forward into the growing world of e-philanthropy.
                                                                                                                                  to donate online, instantly! Our Donate Now! button is a major step
                                                                                                                                  button. This button enables visitors to our website,,
                                                                                                                                  We have just added a new feature to our website -- a Donate Now!
     To our individual donors in 2000.
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                                                                                                                                                                         Donate Online!
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                              THANK YOU!
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