In 2008, I joined GLSEN Phoenix and had no idea about the incredible journey I was about to take. I was able to finally be a part of an organization that truly aligned with my passions and really valued me as an individual. Little did I know that during my time with GLSEN Phoenix, I would have such incredible opportunities to ensure safe, affirming environments for all students in the K-12 education system.
In 2014, I moved from sunny Arizona to Los Angeles. I was sad to leave my GLSEN Phoenix family, but I was very excited to see where my journey would take me in L.A. Los Angeles brings to mind images of glitz, glamour and a laid-back mentality, but behind all those images is a sad truth. The truth is that schools in California are not safe for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) secondary-school students.
After learning about these statistics, I realized how it important it was to found GLSEN Los Angeles and be there as a source of support and a resource for students who do not feel safe and affirmed at school. GLSEN Los Angeles is committed to ensuring that all students feel safe, welcomed and affirmed in their schools regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. We accomplish this by reaching out to educators and GSA leaders and providing that support wherever it is needed.
Now, in the beginning of 2016, we at GLSEN Los Angeles have some resolutions in mind. We resolve to offer support to all students, educators, and community organizations that seek our help. We resolve to do our best to ensure that schools implement the policies that are already in place to ensure an improved school climate. Lastly, we resolve to continue educating ourselves as members of this organization, in order to fully understand students’ needs and how we can best meet them.
As Chair of GLSEN Los Angeles, I resolve to become a better leader to my team, and I resolve that Los Angeles will glisten as a beacon of hope and light for all students. What’s your resolution?
Anthony Eftimeo is Chair of GLSEN Los Angeles.