Dozens of students, faculty, and staff participated in Ally Day at the High School on October 11. Student and faculty members of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) handed out "safe space stickers" and encouraged community members to sign the Ally Pledge, which states:
I believe that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to:
- Not use anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) language or slurs.
- Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed, or tell an adult
- Support efforts to end bullying and harassment
- Encourage others to be Allies
"Ally Day is a day where we can show pride in and support for the uniqueness of ourselves, our peers, and our community. On this day, we show our support for the LGBTQIA+ community, whether you are an ally within or outside of the community," said Anna H., co-president of the GSA. "It is a great reminder that we should stand together and support each other on our many paths to success."
To Abigail G., Ally Day is an opportunity to "express confidence in my sexuality and help my friends also feel more confident in their sexuality."
Cultivating a Community of Acceptance
As bullying has become an issue of national concern, we feel proud that Landmark has steadily worked to create a community that strives for acceptance, not just tolerance. Many of our students know what it is like to be left out or mistreated in the classroom, and can understand what it can feel like to be ostracized in a community. We hope that events like Ally Day will give needed attention to the struggles of the LGBTQ community, as well as provide a moment to be aware of and grateful for Landmark's supportive environment.
Ally Day is inspired by Ally Week, a student-led program during which LGBTQ K–12 students and educators lead a conversation on what they need from their allies in school. It is sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network). Showing our support is especially important now, as rates of bullying and harassment increase for students who identify as LGBTQIA+, and these students are four times more likely to attempt suicide.