Texas PINK Out

Texas PINK Out was inspired by the Pink Shirt Day, an event started at a high school in Canada. Shortly after seeing a 9th grade male student harassed for wearing pink (called a homosexual and threatened to be beaten up), two 12th grade students in Nova Scotia organized a protest against this kind of bullying. They encouraged everyone to wear pink and used local media to spread the word. The response was overwhelming, turning the school into a sea of pink!
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http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/about http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2007/09/18/pink-tshirtsstudents.html

Facts about School Bullying in the State of Texas*
• ·Students report that physical appearance (39%), actual or perceived sexual ori-

entation (35%) and gender expression (29%) are the top three reasons for bullying and verbal harassment happening often or very often in TX schools.

Although 7% of respondents identified as LGBT, 64% of all Texas students surveyed reported that students are bullied, called names or harassed at least some of the time at school because they are perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Over one-third (35%) said these behaviors occurred often or very often in their schools. Sixty-three percent (63%) of respondents reported that bullying based on gender expression (e.g., a girl who “acts like a boy”), occurred at least some of the time at their school and 29% reported that this occurred quite frequently. Homophobic remarks such as “faggot,” “dyke,” or “queer,” were the most frequent derogatory remarks that respondents reported hearing from other students at school, with 79% of survey respondents saying they heard such remarks from students at least some of the time, and five out of ten respondents reported hearing these remarks even more frequently.

*From Teasing to Torment: A Report on School Climate in Texas. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) http://www.glsen.org/binary-data/ GLSEN_ATTACHMENTS/file/000/000/512-1.pdf

Tips for a successful PINK Out:
Share messages and/or statistics with your peers about how homophobia and gender stereotyping play into bullying. You can relay these statistics in fun, interactive ways. Here are some ideas:

Posters: Write statistics, quotes or messages on posters and post throughout the school and community. Sticky Notes: Write messages or quotes about equality on sticky notes and distribute them in interesting ways. Get creative and see what you can come up with. Here are a few suggestions: inside library books from the school library, put one on each tray in the cafeteria before lunch, ask a teacher to put one on assignments that he or she is returning to students, cover up buttons on the vending machines, etc. TXT Messaging: Send all your friends a text message about gender equality and homophobia awareness. Hand Writing: Ask students on your campus to write messages on their hands that is designed to start conversations when others read them. Here are some examples: “PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE”, “PINK IS JUST A COLOR” or “63%” (the percentage of students in Texas that report being bullied based on gender expression).

Think about what you can do to challenge the participants to promote gender equality, and to challenge homophobia. One way to do this is to think of a little challenge that is attainable but that can also make a big difference. Example: encourage participants to cut the word “fag” out of their vocabulary or to stop using the word “gay” to describe something they don’t like.

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