In 1990 a small group of teachers in Massachusetts challenged an education system that allowed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students to be bullied, beaten up, ridiculed, abandoned and allowed to fail.
Today, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, is the largest organization in the nation working to ensure safe schools. Under the leadership of Executive Director Eliza Byard, GLSEN has made great strides in helping to end bias-based bullying, violence and discrimination in the nation’s K-12 schools. Byard will discuss The LGBT Student and the Culture of Respect at Elmhurst College on October 23. Byard’s talk is this year’s William R. Johnson Intercultural Lecture at Elmhurst College.
GLSEN’s advocacy efforts target both students and educators through youth leadership and professional training development programs, and through in-school programs such as the Think B4 You Speak Campaign, recognized as the first Ad Council campaign on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; and No Name-Calling Week, which the National School Boards Association called “one of the most used and celebrated bullying prevention programs in the country.”
Byard has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, AC360, ABC World News and National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation. She served on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s commission on runaway and homeless LGBT youth, and currently serves on the LGBT youth suicide prevention task force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
The annual William R. Johnson Intercultural Lecture is named in honor of Elmhurst College alumnus Reverend Dr. William R. Johnson (Class of 1968), the first openly gay person in modern history to gain ordination to the mainstream Christian ministry.
Byard’s talk will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available online or at the door. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.