New York, NY -- The only national organization specifically dedicated to addressing lesbian and gay issues in K-12 schools has adopted a new name to more accurately reflect the organization's mission and membership. In a unanimous vote, the Executive Committee of the former GLSTN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network) has voted to adopt the new name GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), culminating a six-month process involving market research, staff and board meetings, and input form the organization's members and chapter leaders.
"The goal of our name change is to encourage all members of the community to join teachers and school administrators to work together to make our schools open and affirming communities that nurture gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth," said Charley Todd, GLSEN's Board President and a school principal from Hartford, Connecticut. "Our former name suggested that only teachers should be members, which was not only inaccurate but counterproductive since -- if we galvanize only teachers -- we can never fulfill our mission." [Adopted in 1994, the organization's mission is "to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected, regardless of sexual orientation."] Todd concluded, "The new name maintains some continuity with our past (it is still pronounced "glisten") while allowing us to more fully embrace those whose support we need to achieve our long-term goals.
GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings added, "From the start, our mission has been clear, and our name has confused people. I am glad that they are better aligned, emphasizing that -- while teachers are GLSEN's core -- we must involve others if we are to change what happens in the nation's education system." Numerous chapter leaders and members have applauded the name change as welcoming more allies to join in their work. Edda Cimino, co-chair of GLSEN/Miami, said, "I predict a huge expansion for our organization both locally and nationally from this."