“Gay-straight Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents (Haworth Series on GLBT Youth & Adolescence)”–looking at the issues

MacGillivray, Ian K., PhD. “Gay-Straight Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents”, The Haworth Press, 2007.

Looking at the Issues

Amos Lassen

Now that people are coming-out at a younger age, it is important that they have a safe environment in which to do so. A “GSA” or gay-straight alliance gives students a safe place to discuss issues, meet others, and gain support from a caring group of people. This handbook tells us how to begin these groups and have them become an important part of school life. This, in turn, will build positive relationships as well as provide and promote knowledge and tolerance. Sometimes we have to be told what it takes to start such an alliance as well as how to find the teachers to work with it and likewise helps principals and superintendents to understand the proper laws that apply to them. The book also will help parents discover how important groups like this are and how much they influence the life of a child.

The timing for this book is perfect and Macgillivray draws on the proper research, both empirical and legal as well as personal experience in order to give us a handbook which is so badly needed. It is full of information and ideas as well as resources and advice. Here is a book that belongs in every school today.

We must have safety for GLBT students as well as help them to improve understanding of the issues that face them daily. Just as we need advocates for the rights of all students, we need a place where they can feel at home with others like them and care for them. An alliance of this sort has much to offer the diversity of the population which we have today. Here is a valuable tool which can make schools safe regardless of the kind of school and its district and location.

The youth of today is quick to take on roles of leadership in transforming both the culture and climate of their schools and have an active voice in decisions—unlike when I was a student. They can help to eradicate the biases that pervade among and against our GLBT youth.

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