Thursday, December 17, 2009
We received great news this month from PFLAG National. They are going to write a blog on our SKYPE Packages for families, schools, book groups, churches, and businesses. In addition, they are including our book on their recommended book list for schools. We are thrilled that they are helping us to get the word out about our desire to help wherever we can no matter where they live or who they are. A BIG thank you to PFLAG National!
Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview MN is the new home to several copies of our book. We were asked to supply our book for interested readers of the region as well as theater goers. We are proud to have our story brought to Hjordy’s hometown. Of course Hjordy’s mom, brother, and sister-in-law have had a megaphone telling everyone they know about our book. We appreciate their vocal advocacy for GLBTs. We also appreciate the support of the Jon Hassler Theater. Check them out at http://www.jonhasslertheater.org.
We met a Sioux Falls PFLAG Board Member at the PRIDE Festival in Minneapolis in June of this year. We connected with her again in November with the positive result of having a gathering in Sioux Falls. There were over 50 people in attendance and we talked with them for about 3 hours. Two of the members hosted an overnight stay for us in their home. We had the additional treat of a ride through their beautifully decorated Falls Park followed by a great Italian dinner with four movers and shakers. At dinner we discovered we were really the lightweights in the group. These ladies wear many hats in their community and all of them are trying to make a difference for GLBTs in their city as well as the state of South Dakota. As of yet, SD doesn’t have a Safe School Policy and yes, they can be fired for being GLBT. Our hats off to these good people of Sioux Falls – they are making a difference.
We are always happy to present in the town our sons were raised – Eau Claire, WI. Jane Schley, who works with Fair Wisconsin, arranged for us to speak to interested community members at the LGBT Community Center on December 1st. It was an intimate discussion which we enjoyed immensely. Even though we have been a member of the community for many years, most of the faces were new to us. We always seem to learn from others every place we go. This was no exception. We also met some wonderful and supportive people. We are proud to be a partner in the work of the LGBT Community Center and Fair Wisconsin.
Professor Todd Savage invited us to discuss our book with his students who are aspiring school social workers. They had all read our book so they had a lot of information coming into the discussion. One of the best questions asked of us was what they can do to make things better in a school setting. Of course we had a list of things that can and should be done but three factors identified by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) were found to have the greatest impact: Gay/Straight Alliance, Supportive Staff, and Safe School Policy. All three of these factors show positive results in attendance, attitude, less harassment/bullying, higher grade point, higher aspirations, and a greater sense of belonging. What a difference it would make if we could be successful in those three areas in all of our schools!