Supporting LGBTQ Students at Seattle Public Schools

by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
| Mar 25, 2020
The Seattle Public School Board of Director is introducing Resolution 2019/20-28 on March 25, which would affirm the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community. The Resolultion will be introduced today, and then voted on by the Board at their Tuesday, April 7 meeting. We encourage everyone to write to to express their support for these efforts to affirm and protect LGBTQ students and include LGBTQ people in the curriculum.

The letter GSBA wrote expressing our support for the resolution is below:

Members of the Seattle School Board,

I am writing to express our support of Resolution 2019/20-28, affirming the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community.

GSBA is Washington State's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, representing over 1,400 small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers. Additionally, we are home to the GSBA Scholarship Fund, the first LGBTQ scholarship fund in the US (founded in 1990). As a business organization, we understand that education and inclusion matter. As a scholarship fund, we understand the importance of recognizing and affirming the identities of LGBTQ students.

The efforts contained in the Resolution are admirable and strongly supported by GSBA and our membership. If our small businesses can make the effort to convert restrooms into accessible, gender-neutral facilities with no adverse impacts on customers, we believe that should be no problem for Seattle Public Schools as well. Honoring a student's gender identity and expression is not just the right thing to do, it is also in alignment with Washington State's evolving public policy including the recent recognition of nonbinary genders on state identification. While there remain some barriers to access for identification changes, it should always be up to the individual to decide their own identity without needing it to be affirmed by anyone else. 

Visibility is critical to the ongoing acceptance, health, and vitality of the LGBTQ community. Displays of community flags and icons are important, but even more so is hearing about LGBTQ history and diverse representations of LGBTQ people and their contributions. For LGBTQ people who are still too often shunned by their families, their peers, and their communities, understanding that they are not alone and not intrinsically damaged is vital.

We also recognize that some of these societal changes have happened at a pace where not everyone is comfortable with topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. That is why we are very supportive of Seattle Public Schools' efforts to train staff and volunteers to be more understanding of the experiences and needs of LGBTQ students.

Thank you for your efforts to ensure that all SPS students are safe in their schools, reflected in their curriculum, and respected for who they are.

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