Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mass. Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth Designing "Safe Schools" Programs

Here are two prominent "transsexual/transgender" members of the Mass. Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. You can learn more about their vision for our children at the Commission's next public meeting coming up Monday, Dec. 17, 7-9 p.m. at the Brockton Holiday Inn.

Grace Sterling Stowell, Vice Chairman of the Commmission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, and Executive Director of BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth), which puts on the annual Queer/Trans prom at Boston City Hall, ending the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth's Pride Day celebration every May. Until we brought attention to it, Stowell directed youth to a "male-to-female" surgery web site on the BAGLY resource page.

Gunner Scott, founder of GenderCrash and trans activist about town, is pushing hard for the "Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes" Bill H1722 now filed in the Mass. Legislature. Here's Scott, profiled in Bay Windows: Scott believes that there is a whole group of people who are trans amorous (even if those individuals don’t comprise an identifiable community) and these “transam” folks also face transphobia. Scott, who now identifies as a genderqueer female-to-masculine person, speaks from experience on both sides of that romantic situation. “Before I came out as trans I was partnered with a transwoman. I was lesbian-identified and I lost more [queer] friends being with her than I did when I first came out [as trans].” Scott hopes that his trans activism will help create a world in which all people feel free to live in the identity that they most relate to....

Now, the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth is looking for new members. Their plan is to increase the number of youth members and "transgender" commissioners. The new transgender members will probably be in addition to the four openly trans members already on the Commission.

We're not sure if the Commission has re-defined "youth" yet, as Scott proposed at a meeting last March, to include ALL public school students, grades K-12. But possibly we'll soon be seeing a kindergartner or 1st-grader on the Commission! We're sure his contributions will be on a par with the current members' thoughtful ideas for inclusive, diverse, and safe schools.

Here's a list of current Commission members.

[From Bay Windows:] Mass. Youth Commission to meet in Brockton (12-12-07)

The Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth will meet Dec. 17 at the Holiday Inn in Brockton , the latest in a series of meetings held in different regions of the state to conduct commission business and meet with local youth and advocates to assess the situation of LGBT youth in Massachusetts. Thus far the commission has held meetings in Boston, Hyannis and Worcester, and in March the commission will hold a meeting in Springfield.

Jason Smith, chair of the commission, said a group of local youth will address the commission at the Brockton meeting and talk about the issues facing LGBT youth in their city. Prior to the public meeting the commission will also hold a private discussion forum with local LGBT and allied youth to hear firsthand about their experiences at schools, in their families and in their neighborhoods. The commission held a similar event at the Worcester meeting in October that brought out about 20 young people involved in local gay/straight alliances....

The meeting will include discussion of LGBT youth funding in the fiscal year 2009 budget and the state of the Department of Education’s Safe Schools program. Commissioners will also vote on a slate of new candidates to fill the slots of commissioners who have resigned. Smith said he was unsure how many prospective commissioners were on the slate, but many of them help the commission achieve its goal of increasing representation of various communities, including LGBT youth themselves.

"Most of the commissioners that have applied and that we’re looking at are youth or potential commissioners who are transgender, and there’s also a lot of people representing Western Mass," said Smith, who added that there are commissioners from southern Mass. and Cape Ann as well. "We’re definitely looking to regionalize." [emphasis added]

The Commission's next meeting (open to the public) is taking place at the Holiday Inn in Brockton next Monday, Dec. 17, from 7-9 p.m.