Fairfax County School Board Celebrates June as Pride Month
The Fairfax County School Board recognized June as Pride Month and shared the following recognition at their meeting on Thursday, June 17:
June marks the anniversary of the first LGBTQIA+ Pride Parade more than fifty years ago, which served as a call to collective action just one year after the Stonewall riots where LGBTQIA+ people, led by transgender women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, resisted police harassment and violence during an early morning bar raid in New York City.
The decades since have been one of struggle and celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community. Despite increased understanding, LGBTQIA+ young people still face many challenges. Without accepting families, they are far more likely to attempt suicide or experience homelessness.
In fact, recent studies show most LGBTQIA+ middle and high school students in Virginia say they have been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation and often hear negative remarks about transgender people in school. Additionally, about ten percent of LGBTQIA+ middle and high school students in Virginia report experiencing physical assaults because of their LGBTQIA+ status. Students of color are disproportionately impacted by anti-LGBTQIA+ hostility, with recent surveys showing large percentages of Latinx and Black LGBTQIA+ middle and high school students experiencing bullying.
The Fairfax County School Board celebrates its LGBTQIA+ students and staff, recognizes the urgency of its charge to foster a responsive, caring, and inclusive culture where all feel valued, supported, and hopeful, and advances policies that seek to protect LGBTQIA+ students and staff and enhance their experience in Fairfax County Public Schools.
Furthermore, the Fairfax County School Board appreciates the many contributions made by LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families to the vibrancy of the broader school community. Fairfax County has a richly diverse LGBTQIA+ community that includes people from all walks of life who should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, harassment, or violence.
On behalf of the students, educators, and families of Fairfax County Public Schools, the Fairfax County School Board proclaims June 2021 as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in Fairfax County Public Schools. In the spirit of One Fairfax, the Fairfax County School Board urges all to respect and honor our diverse community, and to build a culture of inclusivity and equity, not only during LGBTQIA+ Pride Month but throughout the entire year as well.
In recognition of Pride Month, FCPS created a new webpage for students, staff, and community members to increase awareness about LGBTQIA+ resources and supports.
More than a dozen Fairfax County schools have active Gender and Sexuality Alliances or Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) through which students are able to network, socialize, and educate their communities about inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in our schools. Students do this through forums, posters, announcements, and activities such as “ally week.” The existence of GSAs is an asset to our schools. Educational research indicates that schools with GSAs have better mental health outcomes for all students. The equity liaisons in our schools also help to make our schools more welcoming for all students and staff.
In addition to student clubs, Fairfax County Public Schools has organizations for LGBTQIA+ employees, parents of LGBTQiA+ students, and LGBTQIA+ family members. FCPS Pride holds monthly coffee houses and an annual picnic for the community and supports activities such as holiday celebrations and the LGBTQIA+ prom.