Dallas students travel to GLSEN conference

James Tate

Two Woodrow Wilson High School students from Dallas will participate in GLSEN’s Students of Color Organizing Summit GLSEN in Phoenix this weekend, GLSEN Greater Dallas Chair James Tate said. Tate and another GLSEN volunteer will also accompany the two youth.

GLSEN picks up the cost of transportation, food, meals and lodging for students chosen to attend. The conference has been held annually since 2005. GLSEN divides the country in half and sends students to two conferences. The East Coast summit will be held in Baltimore on April 27–29.

GLSEN described the summit as three days of community and skill-building in a space where they could acknowledge the unique challenges of doing Safe Schools work as people of color. Some participants of past conferences have later gotten GLSEN internships.

“We bring different youth from all of the chapters in our region,” Tate said.

He said they collaborate and engage with others to discuss what minorities experience as part of the LGBT community.

“When they return, they apply what they’ve learned to their GSA work,” Tate said.

—  David Taffet

Spokesman says DISD too busy with budget cuts to discuss trangender homecoming issue

A rally in support of Andy Moreno at North Dallas High School in October. Since then we haven’t heard much from DISD, or the LGBT community, about trying to come up with a policy that would avoid such controversies in the future.

Here’s the reply we received late Monday from DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander, after we inquired about whether district officials have discussed a possible policy change related to gender and homecoming elections in response to last year’s controversy at North Dallas High School:

“I don’t know if there have been additional discussions regarding that particular issue. Most of our time right now is devoted to paying attention to what is taking place in Austin and planning for next year’s budget accordingly. A $253 million budget deficit would wipe out a lot of things in our school district. If I hear of something, I’ll let you know.”

We certainly sympathize with Dahlander and other DISD officials as they try to deal with the impending budget crisis, but we also hope his statement indicates that the district is open to taking up the transgender homecoming issue as soon as possible. After all, it’s been almost five months since transgender girl Andy Moreno was denied a chance to run for homecoming queen at NDHS. The district should be commended for, in the meantime, passing a fully inclusive anti-bullying policy that is the first of its kind in the state. But this doesn’t mean the district’s work — or the LGBT community’s work — is done. For one thing, we need to ensure that the anti-bullying policy is properly implemented and enforced. And for another, while the anti-bullying policy includes gender identity and expression, the district’s employment nondiscrimination policy does not. In other words, it’s now against DISD policy for a student to bully another student for being transgender, but it’s not against DISD policy for the district to fire a teacher for being transgender. And, apparently, it isn’t against DISD policy for an administrator to discriminate against a student for being transgender, as in the case of Andy Moreno. On Tuesday night I sat in a Stonewall Democrats meeting and listened to a gay student talk about the resistance he’s faced from administrators in trying to establish a GSA at Woodrow Wilson High School. So while the budget situation is critical, let’s also remember that for some LGBTQA youth, the issues we’re raising could be a matter of life and death.

—  John Wright