Saturday, February 25, 2017

A PRIVILEGE TO PEE? Supporting Transgender Students in Fight Over Restrooms

Administration withdraws federal protections on transgender bathroom use in public schools: 

If You Disagree,  Here's How To Respond 

In New York City and Los Angeles — the two largest school districts in the country — transgender students use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. This is part of their overall support for LGBT students, and, really, one indicator of their support for all students.

But if you teach, live, work, or have a child in a school district where this is not the case - and if you think it should be - consider the following possible actions:

    1.  Every school/school district has a mission statement. These generally can be found online or can be obtained directly from the school/school district.  Read it.  If it says anything about providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students, there's your opening.  Use that exact language when you address the issue.  No administrator will come out and say, "except for transgender students."

    2. Attend school board meetings and raise this as an issue of concern.

    3. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

    4. Contact your local or state legislators in person, by phone, and/or in writing.

    5. If the powers-that-be cite the law and claim their hands are tied, try for an alternative solution, such as single occupancy restrooms that can be used by anyone.  

    6. If a school hedges by offering transgender youth the use of a private restroom located in the administrative suite, think of the impact of dozens of supportive cisgender students boycotting the designated boys/girls restrooms and joining the transgender students in a long, long line outside that out of the way, "separate but equal" facility.  This kind of support (kids supporting each other) may be the most powerful of all.  

For more information, check out the document - Transgender Students and School Bathrooms:  Frequently Asked Questions.  Here's a link 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reporting Hate Speech in Social Media

I have just reported a nasty homophobic comment in Facebook to the folks who run the social media site.  

In the increasingly ugly environment surrounding the arena of national politics, hate crimes and hateful language are decidedly on the increase. Please don't allow such remarks to go unchallenged.  Here's what you can do:

Reporting hate speech to Facebook:

"We're sorry you're having a bad experience on Facebook, and we want to help. If you want to report something that goes against our Community Standards (ex: nudity, hate speech, violence), use the Report link near the post, photo or comment to report it to us.
If you want to report something that goes against our Community Standards but you don't have an account or can't see the content (ex: someone blocked you), you may need to ask a friend to help you.
Remember that you should contact local law enforcement if you ever feel threatened by something you see on Facebook."

Reporting hate speech to Twitter:
"To report a Tweet:
  1. Navigate to the Tweet you’d like to report.
  2. Click or tap the more icon ••• on web, or the  icon on the Twitter for iOS or Twitter for Android app.
  3. Select Report.
  4. Select It’s abusive or harmful.
  5. Next, we’ll ask you to provide more information about the issue you’re reporting. We may also ask you to select additional Tweets from the account you’re reporting so we have better context to evaluate your report.
  6. Once you’ve submitted your report, we’ll provide recommendations for additional actions you can take to improve your Twitter experience."


Don't be a bystander.  Remember, 


Saturday, February 4, 2017


How to Stop Arguing and Actually Change Someone’s Mind on Social Media
Excerpted and modified (by me) from an article written by Joanne O'Connell and published in The Guardian on January 28, 2017.  [link to original article

Whenever a major story breaks in the social media age, it sparks a heated debate. And in this post-truth world of “alternative facts,” even the US president conducts his battles on Twitter.

But what if you’re less interested in just shouting your view and actually want to try to change people’s minds?

To begin with, and If you’re serious about being really open-minded, you might need to check your followers. People on Twitter and Facebook suffer from what researchers call “selective exposure”. In conflicts, users are more willing to share and to communicate with their ideological friends than foes by surrounding yourself with those who agree with you. 

So, if you want to really engage in a discussion rather than simply shout slogans at people who already agree with you , here are ten suggestions:

1.  Begin by giving access to your social media page to at least one or two people who are likely to have a differing perspective from yours.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

2. Select one key idea you want to get across in each message. Keep it simple, specific, and straightforward.

3. Stay focused. Don’t send multiple messages saying the same thing.

4.  Make sure you’ve got your facts correct. Opinions are not facts, no matter how loudly they are shouted or how many exclamation points and emoticons you use. 

5. Make your main point and then expand your argument with short additions to further the debate. But keep it short.  Use bullet points if you think these will be useful.

6.  Aim for clarity.  It’s too easy for someone to misunderstand or misinterpret what you are writing. Social media is different from face-to-face conversations. Tone of voice and facial expressions are lost, as is the ability to regroup and explain.  

7.  Avoid personal attacks. If you get riled up, just stop the discussion, catch your breath, and either continue civilly or move along. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say directly. 

8. Your goal is to seek common ground wherever possible.  Agree on points that you can agree on, and acknowledge differing points of view.  It’s really not a battle to see who can scream the loudest.

9.  In the end, you are unlikely to resolve your differences through a few Twitter exchanges. Best to politely thank them for talking, and look for other opportunities to continue the discussion.

10.  Remember, you do have the power of unfriending individuals or blocking or ignoring messages if you feel it would be pointless to continue. You don’t have to respond to every single Tweet.

You should act on your convictions.  And if you are fighting on behalf of a cause you are committed to, it's hard not to get riled up.  But you can't bully your way into changing people's minds.