Salisbury U. to Offer Safe Spaces Training Statewide

Salisbury University’s (SU) Safe Spaces Workshop is now being offered statewide through a
partnership with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR). It’s a free program that aims
to make all environments welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and
intersex (LGBTQI) individuals “LGBTQI people frequently find themselves excluded and uncomfortable in a variety of settings,” said Dr. Diane Illig, Safe Spaces training coordinator and chair of SU’s Sociology Department who has taught courses on gender, sexuality and family at SU for 14 years. Through the workshop, participants develop an understanding of the experiences of LGBTQI people; identify sources of unwelcoming behaviors; learn LGBTQI-inclusive terminology; learn to dispel negative stereotypes; develop strategies to create more welcoming environments; and
formulate effective responses to many of the issues and scenarios that LGBTQI people
experience in their workplace, school or community.

To request the Safe Spaces Workshop through MCCR, contact Tara Taylor, Education and
Outreach director at 410-767-6459 or tara.taylor@maryland.gov.

Report: Maryland LGBT High School Students Unsafe

GLSEN issued a school climate “state snapshot” for Maryland on November 13 as part of a
nationwide survey that found that many LGBT students in secondary schools experience
harassment and bullying. As a result of these activities, LGBT students often miss school out of
their fear for safety, which hurts them academically “Findings from the ‘GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Survey’ demonstrate that Maryland schools were not safe for most LGBT secondary school students,” said the report. “In addition, many LGBT students in Maryland did not have access to important school resources, such as having a curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT people, history, and events, and were not protected by comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment school policies.”

The findings indicate that the vast majority of LGBT students in Maryland regularly heard antiLGBT
remarks. Most LGBT students in Maryland had been victimized at school with the majority
having experienced verbal harassment (e.g., called names or threatened) with nearly 7 in 10
based on their sexual orientation and nearly half based on the way they expressed their gender.
Thirty-five percent experienced cyberbullying. The majority of these incidents were not reported
to adult authorities.

Many LGBT students in Maryland did not have access to in-school resources and supports. For
example, only 14 percent attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment
policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender
identity/expression. Recommendations stemming from the report include: implementing comprehensive school antibullying/harassment policies; supporting Gay-Straight Alliances; providing professional development for school staff on LGBT student issues; and increasing student access to LGBTinclusive curricular resources.

“These actions can move us toward a future in which all students in Maryland will have the
opportunity to learn and succeed in school, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or
gender expression,” the report said.

For more information, visit GLSEN.org/research.

Baltimore Receives Perfect Score in HRC Study

The Human Rights Campaign recently released the findings of a study that showed that
Baltimore was among 39 cities that received the highest marks when it comes to equality for its
LGBT population. Titled the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the survey, rates 353 municipalities
drawn from every state in the nation on the basis of how inclusive their laws and policies are
concerning LGBT people. Last year Baltimore received a perfect score as did 24 other
municipalities.

Cities are rated on a scale of 0-100, based on the city’s laws, policies, benefits, services and
relationships between the city’s leaders and the LGBT community. There are 100 standard
points and 20 bonus points (bonus points are awarded for items which apply to some but not all
cities).

Baltimore received a maximum score of 100 that was comprised of an initial score of 89 plus 16
bonus points. These bonus points came from having openly elected or appointed LGBT leaders;
city supports LGBT youth, elderly and homeless populations as well as people living with
HIV/AIDS; and as an employer, Baltimore maintains an LGBT inclusive workforce.

The basic categories scored were: non-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation and
gender identity; relationship recognition; municipality as employer regarding non-discrimination
and employee benefits; municipal services; law enforcement, which includes having an LGBT
police liaison and the reporting of hate crimes statistics to the FBI; and the city’s elected
officials’ relationship with the LGBT community.

“It’s wonderful seeing Baltimore leading the pack in HRC’s latest Municipality Equality Index.
We’ve certainly made progress in both the local and state legislative halls, but there is still a lot
of work to be done in changing hearts, minds and attitudes,” said GLCCB Executive Director
Joel Tinsley Hall. “True equality is a right for everyone, and we are excited to aid in continuing
the fight for fairness and dignity for all in our LGBTQ rainbow.”

Gay Life December 2014

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