What If Your School Says “No?”

If A School Says No

Unfortunately, some schools might not be willing to host a Homecoming Project. Whether it’s for political reasons, religious reasons, or because administrators don’t understand the importance of supporting LGBT students, your school contact may tell you that they don’t want to participate in the Homecoming Project. What do you do now?

Don’t be discouraged! Read this quote from a student that attended a recent Homecoming Project:

    “I was extremely moved by [the Homecoming Project]. I feel that he has truly inspired me to be my true self and love the body I’m in. I can honestly say that he has affected me for the rest of my life… When I attended this seminar and heard his story about finally accepting who he is, I realized that I am beautiful and unique, and someone someday is going to love me for who I am. He has immensely helped me and I will never forget what he said, ‘Be your true self.’”

Don’t let a “no” stop you from participating in the Homecoming Project! Click here to read some strategies to use if your school says ”No”. [hyperlink to “Go to the Source’]

If your school refuses to host a Homecoming Project even after you use our strategies, click here for alternate ways you can tell your story through the Homecoming Project. [hyperlink to “Tell Your Story Another Way”]

Remember… if you get stuck, give Live Out Loud a call.
We’ll do everything we can to help you find a way into your school!
Call Bryan at 212-651-4220 or email Bryan@LiveOutLoud.info.

Go To The Source [hyperlink]

If a teacher, GSA advisor, or guidance counselor tells you that they can’t sponsor a Homecoming Project because the school’s administration won’t approve your visit, try to speak directly to the person who is saying “No.” Call the vice principal, principal, or other person in charge.

Then, ask questions and engage the person in a non-threatening conversation. Remember, part of the beauty of the Homecoming Project is that it gives us the opportunity to build a bridge between the LGBT and straight community. Here’s a good strategy to use during your conversation:

  • Ask Questions: “What is your concern about the Homecoming Project?” Give your school contact an opportunity to voice his/her concerns, but don’t feel like you have to provide an answer for each one. Let them talk. Become an ally by listening to what he or she wants to say.
  • Clarify Your Motive: Your school may be hesitant to host a Homecoming Project because they are afraid you will come into their school and push a “gay agenda.” Build a bridge with your contact by letting them know that you have no desire to promote a “platform” at the school. You simply hope to partner with them to make their school a healthier place for LGBT students… and isn’t that what we all want?
  • Tell a Story: Stories often convince people when other “arguments” do not. Tell your contact a story about your experience at the school. “I want to participate in the Homecoming Project because when I attended this school I [insert a brief story about your experience as a LGBT person at the school]. I just want to make sure the kids in our school…”
  • Make a Case for Action: School administrators want their schools to be safe. They want their students to succeed. Help the school official understand how important it is that we do everything we can to support LGBT students. The following facts might help. According to Lambda Legal
    • 77.9% of LGBT students hear remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school. The average high school student hears such slurs up to 25 times a day.
    • 39.1% of LGBT students have been physically harassed (by being shoved or pushed) and 17% have been assaulted (by being punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon) at school because of their sexual orientation.
    • 64.3% of LGBT students say they feel unsafe in their school because of their sexual orientation.
      LGBT youth are 4.5 times more likely than their straight peers to skip school because they feel unsafe.
    • 31% of LGBT students had missed at least an entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe based on their sexual orientation.
    • Nearly one-third of LGBT students drop out of high school to escape the violence, harassment, and isolation. This is nearly three times the national average.
    • LGBT youth are four times as likely than their straight counterparts to have attempted suicide.

Find Someone New To Talk To

Your school’s guidance counselor will likely be your greatest ally in organizing a Homecoming Project. It’s possible that she or he may tell you “no” either through a direct refusal or by simply not returning your calls. Don’t be discouraged! Find someone new to talk to!

  • Reach out to your classmates through Facebook, Classmates.com, or other social network. Your graduating class may have a Facebook group you can use to connect with old friends. Ask if anyone has connections at the school. You might be surprised at who is still involved with your high school. Your classmates’ children may even currently attend the school. They may know teachers, members of the parent-teacher organization, administrators, or school board officials that can help!
  • Call the next person on the chain of command. If a teacher says no, call the guidance counselor. If the guidance counselor says no, call the vice principal. If the vice principal says no, call the principal. Just because one person at the school is resistant, doesn’t mean everyone will be!

Tell Your Story Another Way [hyperlink]

Even after using these strategies, you may still reach a dead end. If your school absolutely refuses to host a homecoming project, consider these alternate ways to tell your story.

    • Record a short Homecoming Project video. Live Out Loud will post your video on our Homecoming Project YouTube channel. Kids from all over the country can be inspired by your story! Email us your video!
    • Write your Homecoming Project as a short essay. Live Out Loud will post your reflections on our website. Your thoughts will inspire not only the kids Live Out Loud serves, but also future Homecoming Project participants who need the encouragement you can provide! Email us your story!
    • Look for other youth organizations in your town. Many local YMCAs host groups for LGBT youth where you may be able to tell your story. Your town (either where you grew up or in the city where you now live) may also have an LGBT community center where you can speak to a group of students.
    • Reach out to your middle school, a “rival” high school in your hometown, or a high school in the city where you currently live. Use the GLSEN network to find a school with an active GSA you can speak to.

Finally, send your school a “safe space kit” to help them make your school a safer, more welcoming place for LGBT students!

Remember… if you get stuck, give Live Out Loud a call.
We’ll do everything we can to help you find a way into your school!

Call us at (212) 651-4231 or email Tom Hernandez