In an appearance at Elmhurst College on October 23, LGBT activist Eliza Byard spoke passionately about the need to cultivate a culture of respect for LGBT students across the nation.
Byard is executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the largest organization in the nation working to ensure safe schools. Under her leadership, GLSEN has made great strides in helping to end bias-based bullying, violence and discrimination in the nation’s K-12 schools.
Byard’s talk, The LGBT Student and the Culture of Respect, was 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.