By Libby Abraham
Libby Abraham is a teacher and the GSA Advisor at Ansonia High School and is a 2022 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices grant recipient. Applications are now open for year two of 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices. Apply here.
The positive effect of receiving a grant from the It Gets Better Project was immediate for my school. When a shy, kind boy overheard my excitement about the big news as I spoke to another teacher, he approached me.
“I understand how you feel,” the boy said. “I’m that way, too.”
He was a senior, just weeks away from graduation. From a deeply religious family, this student had been taunted for years by his own twin when he attempted to share the truth about himself.
In those final days of classes, he was able to meet other GSA members, as well as adult role models, making the connections he had longed for all through high school.
I would say I’ve never seen a kid smile so much… except that I have. Teaching in a conservative district forces my students to confront homophobia — both overt and veiled — on a regular basis. The GSA and the It Gets Better Project directly help bring relief to students under great stress.
With the grant money we received from the It Gets Better Project’s 50 States. 50 Grants. 5,000 Voices initiative, our school will host a Pride Conference in April, bringing in authors, health professionals and swag bags. And one more thing: for these precious kids, who have not been allowed to celebrate themselves, we’re bringing in joy… with custom-flavored rainbow ice creams.
At our latest GSA meeting, we sat in a circle and talked about what brought us together:
“I’m here because I want to be around people like me,” said one girl.
Another student piped up: “Everyone’s gay now!” Again the smile.
Thank you to the It Gets Better Project for your support! I only wish you, who make grants like this possible, could come: to meet these kids, and to eat rainbow ice cream with us.