Tonight is the GLSEN Respect Awards – New York, where we recognize students, educators, individuals and corporations that have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBT youth. 

This year, we’re honoring George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, Ilene Chaiken and media partner Optimedia. We’re also recognizing Amber Schweitzer from Colorado as Educator of the Year and the Academy for Young Writers GSA from Brooklyn as GSA of the Year. 

Gearing up for the big night, we asked the GLSEN community on social media what they thought about respect. Here are four of our favorite answers from students. What does respect mean to you?


"Respect to me is making sure that all human beings have basic rights and that those rights aren't compromised. As people, we should all have respect for one another's life, liberty and property.

"It's important that all students feel that their bodies, identities and ideas are respected. We are young but we are individuals, and we have the right to feel safe and supported at school. Being respected in school by both teachers and other students is how we can feel that we have a safe space and a voice for our own future. Feeling respected and heard is empowering."

Drew, Florida


"When I talk about things I'm passionate about in a class discussion, lots of people roll their eyes or don't listen. But then there were always those few kids who would actually listen to me. I feel like that is respect."

Sydney, North Carolina


"Respect means listening to everyone's views and treating everyone equally even if their views differ from your own. It means not hating on someone because of their views, religion, sexual orientation, gender, social class, race and so on. It means not attacking someone or bullying them if they are 'different.'"

Ruth, Great Britain


"When I think about how I define respect, I think about when I came out to my parents. When I came out, they told me that they see me the same and still love me. They respect me."

Stone, Wisconsin