High school is a terrible time to be different or stand out, and without support from mentors and peers, LGBTQ students face issues that don’t affect straight students in the same way. Bullying, homophobia and prejudice are all struggles that LGBTQ kids have to deal with on a regular basis.
That’s why UOTeachOUT, an annual conference that confronts homophobia in schools, is entering its fourth year tomorrow, May 15. UOTeachOUT involves UO education majors, local K-12 teachers and students, and it will feature assemblies and leadership summits at Unitarian Universalist Church and North Eugene High School. According to Jim Barlow, UO public affairs communicator, on the UO’s website:
On Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon, students in the homophobia course will help host the fourth annual Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Youth Leadership Summit that Heffernan and Gutierez-Schmich founded. The summit will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, 1685 W. 13th Ave. It brings together approximately 150 LGBT middle and high school students from the Bethel, Eugene, Springfield and Cottage Grove school districts for a creative writing workshop with author and youth activist and storyteller Ivan Coyote. UO students also will lead healthy teen activities under the supervision of the Lane County Public Health’s Prevention Program.
On Thursday, 1:40 p.m.-3 p.m., UOTeachOUT goes to North Eugene High School, 200 Silver Lane, for an all-school assembly centered on anti-bullying and anti-oppression. The school’s junior class this year has been studying civil rights, oppression and social justice issues. Coyote will the main speaker, addressing oppression related to social bullying in a talk titled “One in Every Crowd.”
See the UOTeachOut webpage for more info.