Intersections: Supporting our kids in a time of increasing intolerance

March 28, 2017 by Bill Ivey

Since the rescinding of Obama-era guidance extending Title IX protections against discrimination to transgender and gender non-conforming children, there has been an outpouring of support for LGBTQ+ kids. TransLifeline saw their website crash under the weight of donations pouring in, multiple organizations have shared ways to protect, support, and reassure transgender and gender non-conforming children, and governors, other elected representatives, parents, and citizens have shared their own words of support and comfort.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, Feminism, Intersections, identity, Supporting Jewish people, Courage

Intersections: A Strong Wish I Make Every Night

February 20, 2017 by Bill Ivey
My kids are incredible. Just putting it out there (with all respect for the thousands and thousands of teachers who could and do say the same about their own kids, and with all respect for those kids as well). The kid who came waltzing into my office and almost sang, “Bill, I figured out something about myself. I’m pansexual!” The kid who said, “Whether you’re talking about romantic or sexual relationships, and whoever you’re into, I just don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but your own.” The kid who said, “Well, I’m really genderfluid, but it’s easier not to change my pronouns every day so I just use “‘they/them/their.’” The kids who went  “Awwwwww…” and “Finally!” when the best friend of the trans girl in George said, “And you know what? If you think you’re a girl… then I think you’re a girl too!” (Gino) They’re growing up with spectrums of sexuality and gender, embracing them as simply a part of their everyday reality. And I want them to feel that level of comfort, with themselves and with each other.

Filed Under: LGBT, LGBT Support, transgender, Intersections, Title IX

Intersections: Not My Kids, You Don't

February 08, 2017 by Bill Ivey

You all probably know the poem,

  • “First they came for [group of people] and I did not speak out, because I was not [part of that group of people]...
  • then they came for…
  • (...)
  • and then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, diversity, Feminism, feminist school, Intersections

Intersections: Smashing Patriarchy

January 08, 2017 by Bill Ivey

She was about six. Pink was the dominant colour, from the shoes on her crossed feet to the bow in her hair. But the white letters stood out on the black t-shirt, announcing she was “training to smash the patriarchy.” I clicked to “Like” the photo and commented that, very loosely paraphrased, that’s basically the mission of our school. One person told me that was awesome and asked where I worked. And most everyone was supportive of the mom who had posted the picture.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, Feminism, feminist school, Intersections

Intersections: Feminist Affirmation

November 15, 2016 by Bill Ivey

This past Saturday, at a memorial service for a college friend, I shared stories of her ability to stand up for herself “with just the right touch of defiance,” of her deep seated insistence on being her own authentic self, of her feminist affirmation of women.

During the all-school meeting last Friday in which we held an open discussion about the range of thoughts and feelings following the election, one of our students shared her belief that women as a whole need to believe in themselves and their gender more strongly than they now do. After the meeting, I came across this quote (abridged here) shared on Gloria Steinem's Facebook page: “So while I do not pray for anybody or any party to commit outrages, still I do pray, and that earnestly and constantly, for some terrific shock to startle the women of this nation into a self-respect which will... give them the courage and conscience to speak and act for their own freedom, though they face the scorn and contempt of all the world for doing it.” I shared it with that student, wanting her to know not only that her voice had been heard but also that she had echoed the thoughts of a feminist icon.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, feminist school, Intersections

Intersections: Traditional Support

November 07, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Over the weekend, I came across an NAIS blog post by Debra Wilson on “Taking Steps to Support Transgender Students and School Communities.” I know that for national organizations, policy statements on transgender people can be fraught with difficulty as some member schools may be part of communities who simply do not accept trans identities. (Just the other day, at the AISNE Diversity Conference, several people in a session on supporting trans students said they as LGBTQ+ adults did not feel safe coming out in their schools. And that’s in New England, a region generally considered to be more LGBTQ+ friendly than many others.) I wondered what path NAIS had chosen. It turned out to be, perhaps unsurprisingly, a somewhat tentative middle ground.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, Education, transgender

Intersections: Deciding to Rise

November 02, 2016 by Bill Ivey

When I was a girl, I had parents who loved me and believed in me, but those doubts still worked their way inside my head and my heart, and I was always worried about something. Does my hair look right? Am I too tall? Do I raise my hand too much in class? So when folks said that a girl like me shouldn’t aspire to go to the very best colleges in this country I thought, "Maybe they’re right." But eventually I learned that each of those doubts were like a little test, a challenge, that either I could shrink away from or rise up to meet and I decided to rise. - Michelle Obama, quoted by AISNE Assistant Director Bonnie Ricci at the AISNE Diversity Conference on November 1, 2016

It wasn’t particularly easy waking up at 4:45 in the morning to head out to the 2016 AISNE Diversity Conference. But it was well worth it, and not just for the chance to connect with familiar faces from other schools I don’t see often enough.

Ralph Wales, Head of Gordon School, welcomed us, asking the question, “What would happen if we were to start a school today?” He talked about aligning the power pyramid with our work in support of it, of the force and power we have to do right by all children, and of the concept of “pushing subversion.” Speaking as a person whose mood indicator has been stuck on subversive for several years, I can support that. The question, of course, is what to subvert, and how.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, diversity, Feminism, Education, Intersections, inclusion

Intersections: I Shall Wear Purple

October 20, 2016 by Bill Ivey
Today, I am wearing purple. As it happens, I like purple - in fact, it’s one of my favourite colours. But more to the point, I am supporting GLAAD in marking Spirit Day and taking a stand against bullying and in support of LGBTQ+ youth.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, Anti-Bullying, Education, GLSEN, Intersections, Spirit Day, GLAAD

Intersections: Valid and Loved

October 11, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Yesterday in housemeeting, two students and I talked about the recent GLSEN conference we had attended together. The kids were brilliant, speaking simply and directly about their experiences attending sessions on fashion and gender, being gender expansive, the film “The Year We Thought About Love” chronicling the development of a play by queer youth and their straight allies, and expressing one’s truths through poetry. In preparing for this moment, it suddenly occurred to me that National Coming Out Day is somewhere in mid-October (n.b. It's today, October 11). Was it randomly the same day as housemeeting?

Filed Under: LGBT Support, Education, National Coming Out Day, Intersections

Intersections: Words in Motion

October 02, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Words in motion evoke change when spoken. - Jasmin Roberts

Because Thursday was Mountain Day, Rock Band had the night off, and that meant I was free to join EduColor’s 7:30 Twitter chat on engaging and supporting families of colour. Being white, this meant both an opportunity to chime in when I felt I genuinely had something worth adding, and an even greater opportunity to listen in and learn from voices of colour. I knew that if I retweeted every tweet I loved, I’d flood my timeline. So I found myself favoriting left and right so people would know I was listening and they were being heard.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, equity, Education, Intersections