Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ally Week is a youth-led campaign that rallies students and staff to be effective allies for LGBTQIA+ youth. Young people already face many hardships, whether it’s stress over impending student loans or the high levels of gun violence in this country. However, LGBTQIA+ youth experience more violence, harassment, and suicidal behaviors than their heterosexual peers.
LGBTQIA+ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk. However, their sexual orientation and gender identity place them at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and discriminated against in society. Ally Week’s focus on combating school-based victimization is essential as it greatly helps to protect LGBTQIA+ youth and their right to education. With supportive policies and practices in schools, young members of the LGBTQIA+ community would be able to feel safer and more connected to their environment.
Ally Week is for everyone to take part in. And it’s the perfect time for schools nationwide to have the hard conversations on whether enough is being done for young people in the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a time to take a stand against harmful bullying and harassment, strengthen bonds, and recommit to allyship and solidarity. As NOW members, let’s ensure we are active allies during this week and all weeks. Our youth deserve to live safely and happily regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.