On April 4th, Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) will host the “No Time to Lose” conference. This meeting will help professionals learn how to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth (LGBT) and the challenges that they often face in their communities. The goal is to make schools more aware of the support system LGBTQ teens often need to be successful with the hopes that they will feel safer when attending school.
SCUSD recognizes there is “No Time To Lose” when defending LGBTQ youth
“LGBTQ youth in schools face unique challenges that school staff and services providers are often unaware of,” says Nicholle Wofford, a specialist for the SCUSD’s connect center and coordinator for this project. “By providing trainings and workshops to those who work with LGBTQ youth directly, we hope to make schools and the greater Sacramento area more supportive and affirming of the LGBTQ community.”
The program is also run by the Gender Health Center, which advocates and works to provide health services to historically underserved populations with an emphasis on the gay and lesbian community. They also offer a large number of counseling services to anyone who needs them, and especially for those who wish to voice concerns about their sexuality. The goal is to make sure that people in the LGBT community always have a place to voice their thoughts and opinions without any kind of judgement.
“Through the collaboration of the GHC and other community partners, SCUSD recently approved the Transgender and Gender Variant Student Policy, which protects the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming students,” explains Wofford. “Both organizations are active members of the Sacramento LGBTQ Foster Youth Task Force, and both regularly advocate on behalf of LGBTQ youth in schools and the community. Both SCUSD and the GHC plan to continue this work, and hope to support community members throughout the Sacramento area to take part (or continue taking part) in supporting LGBTQ youth.”
In a time where gay, lesbian and transgender students often face difficulties in their learning environments, it’s important to offer their instructors methods for supporting them within schools. The Sacramento City Unified School District wants other schools districts in the area to follow their example and make their schools more friendly to a diverse student population.
“It’s also important to make sure that your own agency or community is supportive and affirming of LGBTQ people in a range of ways,” says Wofford. “Those who attend No Time to Lose will gain skills in creating inclusive policies, being an ally, working with parents and families of LGBTQ youth in a culturally responsive way, and much, much more.”