Safe Schools & Inclusive Curriculum

When compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, LGBTQ+ youth disproportionately suffer from a host of mental, physical and social health issues. Sexual minority youth often targets of prejudice, discrimination, and bullying in their schools, communities, and sometimes in their own home. Therefore, LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience feelings of isolation, depression, and low self-esteem, increasing their risk for depression, drug use, suicide and other risky behaviors.

Our trainers are known throughout New Jersey for providing quality workshops on LGBTQ+ cultural competency, legal issues and policy, and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. Below are descriptions of our safe schools and inclusive curriculum workshops. Trainings can be developed and/or tailored to your audience.

Needs Assessment

Completing a needs assessment is the first step towards making your school a more inclusive space for LGBTQ students and families. Contact us and we’ll set up a meeting, go over a brief questionnaire, and provide an initial assessment.

Policy Assistance

Garden State Equality provides consultation on federal and state law as they relate to schools and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Gender Expression). We can share legal expertise in this area and help you develop and audit your policies.

Curriculum Workshops

Research shows that including LGBTQ people and history in your lessons is the most effective way to change school climate. We will work with educators from your district to develop and pilot LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate and in line with current state and federal education standards.

Other Speaking Engagements

Representatives from Garden State Equality are available to speak to students, as well as to parents and community members.

Professional Development Workshops

Our professional development workshops focus on cultural competency and help educational, social and medical providers improve their services for the LGBTQ+ community (and other minority groups).  They address the impact of privilege and power when accessing and receiving services, and offer strategies on how to create safe, inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.  

The increasing spate of suicides among LGBTQ+ teens, tweens and young adults necessitates conversations about the harmful and potentially deadly effects of bullying, especially in its 21st-century incarnation of “cyberbullying”. We offer trainings to staff and community members that include an overview of  bullying; the emotional, mental and physical health implications on sexual minority youth; and strategies on how to create a supportive environment for all youth. We also offer anti-bullying workshops for young people, engaging them in conversations surrounding peer relationships and respect. Workshops are tailored to be age-appropriate. Types of bullying are covered, as well as the mental aftermath it has on the target, such as depression, isolation, substance use and misuse, self-injury, and suicide.

LGBTQ+ 101
This workshop provides a safe space for consumers to discuss and learn about LGBTQ+ identities. Workshop participants learn about the various components that make up sexuality along with issues that often affect their LGBTQ+ peers, including but not limited to depression, isolation, self-hatred, substance use, and homelessness. Time permitting, the discussion includes the ways internalized, interpersonal and institutional homophobia manifests. This workshop is intended to help start a dialogue about sexuality and sexual minorities in an attempt to empower individuals to create safer environments.

Identities and Intersectionality
This workshop provides an opportunity for an interactive discussion surrounding the various challenges of having multiple minority identities, including but not limited to race, gender & gender identity, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, and ability. The discussion highlights the role the media and other social influences have in marginalizing vulnerable populations, even within already marginalized communities.  Discussion also covers, privilege, power, cultural appropriation, implicit bias, and micro and macro aggressions. The workshop closes with strategies on how to make schools, communities, GSAs and other spaces more inclusive of various identities, and how to celebrate diversity in more sensitive ways.

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