The artists of GMCLA are outstanding in their work with younger individuals, as seen in their lauded Alive Music Project (AMP) in which singers perform and interact with middle and high school students in a music education/anti‐bullying workshop on campus. In this program, artists will perform excerpts from It Gets Better, share personal narratives, and lead a discussion with students about their experiences.
It Gets Better scenes and songs address bullying (both in and out of school) as well as the difficulty young people may have talking with parents and other adults about their challenges – an issue particularly complicated for LGBT students.
Company members will share some of their own It Gets Better stories to help students envision their own pathways toward happy and meaningful adult lives.
Company members are trained in proven facilitation techniques to create a safe space for discussion. Student questions will be answered, and students will also be invited to comment about the program and its themes.
This session is suitable for small or large school audiences of 30‐300 students; larger venues may require professional amplification. (50 minutes)
How Does My School Benefit from The It Gets Better Experience?
According to the National School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), 85% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40% reported being physically harassed and 19% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns. This also manifested as increased depression and low self‐esteem*
When LGBT students are taught about positive representations of LGBT people, history, and events they are half as likely to experience high levels of victimization because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Data also supports that students are also less likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.
Shockingly, 87% of students are never taught anything about LGBT people. The It Gets Better Experience allows students to interact with happy, successful, and articulate gay people of diverse ages and backgrounds. This reduces homophobia among straight students and provides positive role models for LGBT or questioning youth.
Offering programs like It Gets Better contributes to a less‐hostile school experience for LGBT youth, according to “Teaching Respect” a GLSEN research brief released in April 2012. The presence of supportive staff in schools also contributes to fewer reports of students missing school or feeling unsafe. It is positively correlated with greater academic achievement, higher educational aspirations and a greater sense of school belonging.
This program addresses the following educational criteria:
- NA‐T.9‐12.7 Analyzing, critiquing, and constructing meanings from informal and formal theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions.
- NA‐T.9‐12.8 Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the past and the present.
- NA‐M.9‐12.8 Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
- NL‐ENG.K‐12.12 Applying language skills.
*2009 survey of 7,261 LGBT students between the ages of 13 and 21 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Report is biennial;results of 2011 survey are to be published in the fall of 2012.