Welcome to the Advocacy section of the NAGC GLBTQ SIG!
(Not sure about all the alphabet soup? NAGC = National Association for Gifted Children; GLBTQ = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning; and SIG = Special Interest Group)
These pages are dedicated to providing useful information for young people, parents, educators, and anyone who advocates for the needs of gifted GLBTQ kids.
The Internet contains loads of information about gifted kids, and loads of information on GLBTQ kids. Unfortunately, there is very little information available for young people who are both. With the support of the National Association for Gifted Children, a SIG was launched in 2011, to address the unique challenges faced by these teens and the people who work with them. Often, kids who are different from their classmates in one or more ways can feel isolated. It is critical that they know they are entitled to be who they are, and that being true to themselves will help them realize all of their potentials. Also, GLBTQ educators and parents frequently encounter issues with systems that do not recognize their status, and they need to know where to turn for help as well. An important function of this SIG is Advocacy. We hope that you find resources here that help you advocate for yourself, for your fellow students, for your kids, or for the students in your school or community.
Some Facts about the Challenges
- GLBTQ teens in the US are 3 times more likely than their heterosexual peers to be assaulted at school and 3 times more likely to be threatened or injured with a weapon at school (Human Rights Watch, 2001)
- GLBTQ students who have been bullied are almost twice as likely as their straight peers to miss school (72 vs. 43 percent), resulting in GPAs that are one-half point lower than students who feel safe and do not miss school (GLSEN, 2009)
- Between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as GLBTQ, resulting in part from 26 percent of teens getting kicked out of the house by parents after coming out; they face tremendous, ongoing crises from risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, mental health issues, and victimization (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2006)
- Youth who report same-sex romantic attractions are more than 2 times more likely than heterosexual peers to attempt suicide (Russell and Joyner, 2001)
The list of links and titles here is, due to the nature of our information age, likely to become partial as soon as it goes live. We will do our best to remain as current and comprehensive with our information as possible.
If you are aware of programs or other sources of information that are not represented here, please send links or other details to Teresa@teresamanzella.com.
- Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network:
“GLSEN works with educators, policy makers, community leaders and students on the urgent need to address anti-LGBT behavior and bias in schools. GLSEN strives to protect students from bullying and harassment, to advance comprehensive safe schools laws and policies, to empower principals to make their schools safer, and to build the skills of educators to teach respect for all people.”
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
Because youth are coming out at ever-earlier ages, the Task Force has established content on its website and in its programming that is specifically geared toward young people.
- The Trevor Project: Saving Young Lives
“The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.”
- Brown, Rita Mae. Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser. New York: Bantam Books, 1997.
In her memoir, Brown explicates her life’s journey as a gifted-queer woman, emphasizing the importance of being true to one’s self and the necessity of developing resiliency to counter discriminatory attitudes.
- Huegel, Kelly. GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2003
Covering issues from abusive relationships to youth resources, Huegel answers many of the common (and some not-so-common) questions that arise for GLBTQ teens, providing them with tools to advocate for themselves and keep themselves healthy.
- Human Rights Watch. Hatred in the Hallways: Violence and Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student in US Schools. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001.
In this study, the authors report on the climate of harassment and hostility that is regularly endured by up to 2 million GLBTQ youth in American schools, highlighting the participation not only of fellow students, but of faculty, staff, and administration.
- Peterson, Jean S. and Heather Rischar. “Gifted and Gay: A Study of the Adolescent Experience.” Gifted Child Quarterly, 44.4 (2000): 231-46.
Peterson and Rischar, noting a dearth of coverage of the gifted-and-gay combination in literature on gifted adolescents, embarked on their own research and produced this retrospective study. While limited in its scope (there were only 18 participants, and they were over age 18), the concerns the authors reveal are important ones to consider. They discuss how gifted/gay students deal with their differentness (through overachievement, withdrawal, suicidal ideations), and they lay out the strategies that need to be adopted by parents and educators to alleviate the sense of Otherness in this group.
- Ray, N. “Executive Summary.” Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness. New York, N.Y.: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006: 1-7.
In this summary of the comprehensive report that follows, Ray describes the problem of homelessness among GLBTQ youth, detailing their disproportionate representation, the causes behind the numbers, the multiple crises faced by these teens, and the widespread failure of the shelter system to help them.
- Saltzburg, Susan. “Learning That an Adolescent Child Is Gay or Lesbian: The Parent Experience.” Social Work, 49.1 (Jan. 2004): 109-18.
Describing how parents’ attitudes toward homosexuality can stand in the way of the healthy adjustments they must make (to finding out a child is GLBTQ) if they are to parent effectively, Saltzburg studies how younger coming-out experiences are affecting the adolescent stage of the family life cycle. She focuses specifically on the potential emotional fallout vs. physical violence.
- Treat, Alena R. and Becky Whittenburg. “Gifted gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender annotated bibliography: a resource for educators of gifted secondary GLBT students (Bibliography).” Journal of Secondary Gifted Education (2006).
Created in 2004, as a project of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Task Force on Sexually Diverse Gifted Students, this bibliography includes information from sources including articles and special publications; brochures and guides; books and chapters; curricula and lesson plans; staff development materials; and organizations and Internet resources.