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Resources for Learning About Gay, Lesbian Issues

March 31, 1994|MARY LAINE YARBER | Mary Laine Yarber teaches English at Santa Monica High School.

Being different is never easy, especially for teen-agers. But gay and lesbian youths have a particularly hard time, and often suffer social, academic, health and mental problems as a result. With discussion of homosexuality more common in the media, it's not surprising that many schools are now questioning how well they support and protect their gay and lesbian students.

The following list should help teachers find free or inexpensive curriculum materials and other resources related to homophobia and homosexuality.

* Project Ten, a support group for gay and lesbian students at about 30 high schools in Los Angeles County, offers an excellent curriculum guide titled "Project Ten Handbook." It includes readings and lesson plans on homophobia, minority issues, intervention and counseling, and other topics. To order a copy, call Project Ten at Fairfax High School, (213) 651-5200.

* Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also publishes an outstanding curriculum guide, complete with readings and assignments, called "Homophobia: Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation." Call GLAAD's Los Angeles chapter at (213) 931-9429.

* The Bay Area Network of Gay and Lesbian Educators (BANGLE) supplies ample advice on responding to discrimination against homosexual students and teachers; oversees fairness in textbooks, and publishes a newsletter. Write to BANGLE at P.O. Box 460545, San Francisco, CA 94146, or call (415) 648-8488.

* The Equity Institute holds seminars and publishes literature and teaching guides aimed at fighting not only homophobia, but also racism and other discrimination. Call (510) 658-4577, or write the institute at 6400 Hollis St., Suite 15, Emeryville, CA 94608.

* The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force supplies several thorough, yet concise pamphlets, including "Coming Out," "20 Questions About Homosexuality," "Combatting Homophobia" and "Who's Behind the Gay Rights Movement?" Call NGLTF at (212) 529-1600, or write 666 Broadway, Suite 410, New York, NY 10012.

* The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Public Awareness Project offers pamphlets including "Homophobia: What Are We So Afraid Of?" and "In Our Own Image," positive portraits of gays and lesbians. Call (213) 281-1946.

* Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has educational pamphlets. Call (310) 472-8952.

The Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center of Los Angeles maintains a speakers bureau. Call director Francesca Miller at (213) 993-7438. The center's youth services department can provide teen-age speakers. Call youth outreach coordinator April Quaker at (213) 993-7451.

Speakers are also available through the Lesbian and Gay Public Awareness Project, (213) 281-1946, and PFLAG, (310) 472-8952.


The United Teachers of Los Angeles offers a scholarship in honor of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York 25 years ago, an event credited with launching the gay-rights movement. Call UTLA at (213) 368-6216, or write UTLA Stonewall Scholarship Fund, 2511 West 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90057.

Project 21, a national alliance of anti-discrimination organizations, offers an excellent poster featuring 57 famous gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and seven major historical events. The full-color poster, 2 feet by 3 feet, comes with a key to identities and extensive bibliography. It costs $10. Order by calling (415) 861-4588, or writing Project 21 Poster, 514 Castro St., Suite B, San Francisco, CA 94114.

Telephone hot lines are one way for teen-agers to get counseling and referrals. The Gay and Lesbian Youth Talkline takes calls from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday at (213) 993-7475.

The hot line is operated by the Youth Services Department of the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, which also provides youth discussion groups, walk-in counseling, HIV education, a pen pal program and newsletter. Call (213) 993-7400 for more information on those services.

The toll-free Youth Crisis Hotline operates 24 hours daily at (800) 448-4663. Free walk-in counseling and referrals are provided by Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS). Call (310) 288-1757.

Hundreds of other resources and services appear in the Gay and Lesbian Community Yellow Pages. Call (213) 469-4454 for a free copy.

Educators who encounter interference while trying to teach about homosexuality or homophobia can call the National Education Assn.'s Anti-Censorship Network at (202) 822-7721.

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