This is the letter we sent to GLSEN Massachusetts and Danielle Murray, a representative and teacher at Brighton High School answered it. The following responses are a combinations of emails and a phone interview.

GLSEN Massachusetts' Letter

April 9th, 2012
GLSEN Massachusetts Chapter:

My name is Julia, and I am a 9th grade student at Boston Latin School. This year, two other students and I are participating in our school's annual Seevak Website Competition, in which we make a website about an organization or individual that has made a significant contribution to humanity within the last century. We are doing our website on GLSEN and on our local Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA, since GLSEN has taken incredible strides in order to end bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Over the course of the next four months, my team, comprised of three students, Connie Chang, Michael Kyriakidis, and myself, and our faculty advisor, Christopher Doss, will be gathering information, multimedia, and anecdotes about GLSEN and our local GSA. It would be greatly appreciated if you were able to provide any useful links or resources to help our endeavor, and to answer a few questions for us:

1. How did GLSEN Massachusetts start?
GLSEN MA started over 20 years ago by a gay teacher in Cambridge who wanted to build support for other LGBT teachers. It was the first chapter of GLSEN.

2. What change do you hope to create in the community (i.e., local, tangible changes, or more general changes to shift the way people think about the LGBT population)?
We work to make schools safer, to decrease bullying and consequently help students stay in schools and be successful. We want school environments that embrace every student for all aspects of their individuality. We also work to increase support for GSAs and to help schools start and continue GSAs. We use a lot of data from school climate surveys to inform our work.

3. What do you think of recent coverage by major news and media corporations regarding topics relevant to the LGBT community at large (e.g. gay marriage, gay teen suicides, LGBT bullying)? Do you mean me or GLSEN? GLSEN works with many other organizations to help increase positive visibility for LGBT issues that affect teens, including anti-bullying initiatives, and the importance of enumerated school policies.

4.What advice do you have to give for closeted queer teens who want to come out?
Find the communities around you (or online) and know that you are not alone. Find one supportive adult in your school community who might be a support. GLSEN is helping to identify those individuals.

5. How do you feel about the portrayal of the LGBT community and LGBT individuals in the media?
GLSEN has worked with many TV shows, including Modern Family and especially GLEE (as well as sports teams[Name of the Game]) to reach out to LGBT teens. I think it is wonderful to see so many diverse representations of the lives of LGBT teens, but more is certainly needed. For mass media, GLSEN organized the video It Gets better Campaign Some pop stars like Lady Gaga have helped too. Recently this February, she came to Harvard University to participate in a rally honoring gays who have been expelled in Harvard's history.

6. What is the process for someone who wants to set up a GSA in their own school?
It depends on the state. In MA, students are entitled to a GSA in their school. I'd try to identify a supportive adult and then seek out the JumpStart Guide by GLSEN (found on our website) which guides you through the process.

7. How do you think the LGBT community and their allies should react to people who adamantly hate gays or make homophobic websites?
This is difficult to answer. My responses might be different from GLSEN MA, but probably not very. I think positive action is more useful than negative. I can't always change everyone's mind, but I can provide an alternate view and a welcoming, safe space. Always have accurate information.

8.How do you propose that someone try to introduce gender neutral bathrooms to a very traditional school such as Boston Latin School?
The process is very complex but ask the faculty for support when dealing with the administration. Try to see if the nurse will allow people to use their bathrooms. Eventually if the school's environment is right, ask for genderneutral stall bathrooms. The final website can be found at at the end of this May.

Christopher Doss