For Public Policy
Arizona LGBTQ+ Lobby Day
Every year, Equality Arizona alongside other organizations and community members alike rally together to lobby for state-wide legislation that protects the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and harassment, whether it's lobbying for the repeal or blocking of harmful legislation or advocating for the implementation of legislation that protects. LGBTQ+ Lobby Day is an opportunity to meet with your legislators and learn critical advocacy skills with your community.
In 2019, GLSEN Phoenix was part of the coalition of organizations that successfully lobbied for the repeal of the "No Promo Homo" Law, which prohibited all public school districts in Arizona from including in their HIV/AIDS instruction any information that “promotes a homosexual life-style, portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style, [or] suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”
In 2020, GLSEN Phoenix also lobbied against the trans sports bill that would prevent trans girls and young women from playing on the sports team of the gender they identify with.
The 2021 State Legislative Session has begun, which means it's time for Equality Week, a great lineup of virtual trainings and events. This year, bills regarding conversion therapy and others are on the floor.
[I]t is our belief that to work with School Resource Officers (SROs) would run counter to our mission, compromise our efficacy, and make schools feel hostile, especially for BIPOC students. For these reasons, we at GLSEN Phoenix support policies that defund SROs.
Who Are We?
The Safe Schools Policy Program aims to convince policy decision-makers to protect LGBTQ students. We draw on GLSEN’s model policy guides to:
facilitate empathy-building and policy-centered workshops with school administrators,
speak at school board meetings and state legislative education committee hearings, and
participate in influential education bodies.
According to our 2019 survey results, only 8% of students in Arizona attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Only 6% had a policy or official guidelines to support transgender and nonbinary students.
GLSEN Phoenix focuses on reformation and non-discriminatory implementation of anti-bullying/harassment/discrimination policies, dress and grooming codes, sexual health administrative regulations, and the state HIV/AIDS statute.
“I'm really excited to see our conversations about safe schools grow and to have, on policy committee, the opportunity to expand our notions of safe schools.”
Carolyn Evans, GLSEN Phoenix Board Member + Policy Co-Chair
Attend Your Local School Board Meeting
Our local school boards can have the most direct impact on student safety. For instance, school boards make important curriculum decisions and decide whether a school stays online during a pandemic versus hybrid or in-person. As an educator, student, family member, or local community member, your voice can make a difference in creating safer schools for LGBTQ+ youth.
How can you make your voice heard? First things first, visit your school district's website. You can find your school district using K12 Academics directory here. Next, do your research; find out what the issues are, what's being voted on, and any relevant facts or findings. Once you have all the information you need, attend your district's next school board meeting. The next meeting date should be listed on the district website's event calendar with information on how to attend in-person and/or virtually. Most school boards even provide an online livestream for public viewing.
If you're feeling empowered to speak to the safety of LGBTQ+ students, you can submit your public comment. There is power in numbers, so rallying folks to support or oppose the same issue can make a difference. GLSEN Phoenix can help. For more information or support from GLSEN Phoenix, email firstname.lastname@example.org.