LGBTQ youth coming out at school

Kevin Jennings, educational specialist on LQBTQ youth, discusses why are some parents the last ones to hear about their child coming out. Find out why some LGBTQ children might come out first at school or to their friends rather than their parents.
LGBTQ youth coming out at school | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

LGBTQ youth coming out at school

Comment
236
Like
236
Transcription: 
The first piece of news I have for parents is that you're probably going to be the last to know that your child is an LGBTQ. Studies of young people coming out show that their parent are usually the last people they tell. They will tell their friends. They'll tell another family member like a brother or sister or favorite aunt or favorite uncle because they're so afraid of parental rejection. Usually, the parents are the last people they tell. If, by some chance, your child has come out to you and he's figuring out how to come out of school, I think it's really important to help them understand that they're gonna get a range of reactions. Some kids are gonna be very supportive. Some kids are gonna care less. Some kids are gonna be hostile. And, help them understand how to negotiate that very treacherous terrain because it can be very, very challenging for young people who are LGBTQ at school. They are getting counter people who are very unaccepting and that's something that a parent needs to help them understand it has nothing to do with them, there's nothing wrong with them, that the people who are reacting in hostile ways to them have some kind of problem of their own and it's not you.

Kevin Jennings, educational specialist on LQBTQ youth, discusses why are some parents the last ones to hear about their child coming out. Find out why some LGBTQ children might come out first at school or to their friends rather than their parents.

Transcript

Expert Bio

More from Expert

Kevin Jennings

Educational Specialist

Kevin Jennings is the Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation advancing pressing social justice and conservation issues. Specifically, Arcus works to advance LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality, as well as to conserve and protect the great apes.

Kevin has a long and distinguished career as an educator, a social justice activist, a teacher, and an author. From 2011-2012 Kevin was CEO of Be the Change, a nonprofit that creates national issue-based campaigns on pressing problems in American society. While there he helped launch Opportunity Nation, a campaign designed to increase opportunity and economic mobility in America.

From 2009-2011 Kevin served as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education, heading the department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS). In this role, Mr. Jennings led federal efforts to promote the safety, health and well being of America’s students. Kevin led the Obama Administration’s anti-bullying initiative, which culminated in March 2011 with the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention keynoted by President Obama.

Kevin began his career as a high school history teacher and coach, first at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., from 1985 to 1987, and then at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., from 1987 to 1995. At Concord, he served as the faculty advisor to the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) leading him in 1990 found GLSEN, a national education organization bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight teachers, parents, students, and community members who wanted to end anti-LGBT bias in our schools. Jennings left teaching in 1995 to build the all-volunteer GLSEN organization into a national force, serving as its founding Executive Director until 2008. Under his leadership, GLSEN programs such as Gay-Straight Alliance, the Day of Silence and No Name-Calling Week became commonplace in America’s schools. GLSEN’s advocacy was key in passing comprehensive safe schools laws in eleven states, increasing the number of students protected from anti-LGBT discrimination from less than 900,000 in 1993 (less than 2% of the national student body) to 14.3 million by 2008 (nearly 30%).

Kevin became the first member of his family to graduate from college when he received his B.A. magna cum laude in history from Harvard University in 1985. He is the founder of First Generation Harvard Alumni, an alumnae/i organization of Harvard graduates who were the first in their families to graduate from college who offer mentoring to current undergraduates who are the first in their families to attend college. He also holds an MA in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, from which he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012, and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He has received the “Friend of Children” Award from the National Association of School Psychologists, the Human and Civil Rights Award of the National Education Association, the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Diversity Leadership Award of the National Association of Independent Schools. He is a Board Member of the Harvard Alumni AssociationUnion Theological Seminary, and the You Can Play Project, a groundbreaking effort to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports. He is also Board Chair for the Tectonic Theater Project, which created The Laramie Project. Kevin is a founding member of the New York City Gay Hockey Association, and plays left wing on The Boxers.

Mr. Jennings has authored six books, with his latest, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir, being named a Book of Honor by the American Library Association in 2006. He also helped write and produce the documentary Out of the Past, which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.

Mr. Jennings and his partner, Jeff Davis, a senior executive at Barclay’s, are celebrating 20 years together in 2014. They are the proud “parents” of a Bernese mountain dog, Ben, and also have a “granddog” in Ben’s son, Jackson.

More Parenting Videos from Kevin Jennings >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter