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social sciences

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Jennings, Kevin (b. 1963)  
page: 1  2  3  4  

Jennings and his partner, Jeff Davis, maintain a home in New York City. During his farewell address at the GLSEN Respect Awards in the spring of 2008, he summed up his philosophy in his closing remarks: "Be impatient. Demand change now. Time is a luxury that children cannot afford."

[In May 2009, Jennings joined the Obama administration as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education and director of the Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools. The appointment, for which he is eminently qualified, sparked a series of hysterical and libelous attacks on him by conservative activists, abetted by irresponsible reporting from the Washington Times and the Fox News Network.

Sponsor Message.

Despite the viciousness of the attacks, Jennings was buoyed by the support he received from President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan.

His partner told him, "You've spent your whole life fighting bullying. You're not going to give in to bullies now." So, rather than resigning in the face of the vicious attacks, Jennings pressed on with ambitious plans to help prevent bullying in the schools.

The urgency of this need was underlined in the fall of 2009 when a number of suicides by gay youth who had been bullied came to light. In response, he helped convene the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, headlined by the President and First Lady. He also worked with the national association of school bus drivers to help train drivers to prevent bullying on school buses and with advising local school boards on ways to provide safe schools for all students.

In 2011, he decided to resign his position in the Department of Education in order to head a new non-profit organization, "Be the Change," dedicated to addressing the growing problem of economic inequality in the country.

One of the advantages of the new job is that it will permit him to move back to his home in New York City to spend more time with Davis.

In an interview with Stephanie Mencimer soon after he announced his plans to leave the Department of Education, Jennings explained that he was comfortable leaving since "I felt like we had succeeded in mobilizing the resources of the administration to stop bullying. . . . My contribution was to galvanize [the anti-bullying] movement and now that movement can move on without me," he said.]

Victoria Shannon

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social sciences >> Overview:  Adolescence

The ordinary sexual uncertainty and confusion confronted by all adolescents is compounded in glbtq adolescents by fears of being stigmatized and often by internalized homophobia.

literature >> Overview:  Autobiography, Gay Male

In its first century of existence, gay male autobiography has become increasingly more open, frank, and unapologetic.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a national organization in the United States dedicated to creating safe school environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay-Straight Alliances

Gay-straight alliances are youth-led, school- or community-based groups designed to assist glbtq students, children from glbtq families, and heterosexual students who want to be allies of their glbtq peers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gaybashing

Violence perpetrated against people thought by their attackers to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered occurs with disturbing frequency in the United States and other countries.

social sciences >> Overview:  Holidays and Observances

Throughout the year, the glbtq community unites in pride and in protest, in recognition of a rich heritage and in hope for the future.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophobia

Homophobia was originally defined as a "dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals," but it is now sometimes used to describe any form of anti-gay bias.

social sciences >> Overview:  Southern Baptists

The Southern Baptists have become the most intolerant of the major American religious denominations, especially (but not exclusively) for their opposition to equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

social sciences >> Overview:  Student Organizations

In a little more than thirty years, the number of glbtq student organizations has grown from a handful found at large universities to several thousand spread throughout the country to nearly all college campuses.

social sciences >> Overview:  Teachers

Historically, glbtq teachers have faced all manner of social pressures, including open hostiliy and expectations that they hide their sexuality; now, however, teacher groups and individuals are working to improve the climate for glbtq teachers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Issues in Education

Transgender people are becoming increasingly visible at secondary and post-secondary schools; if institutions are to be welcoming to people of all genders, issues of discrimination and equal access to facilities and health care need to be addressed.

social sciences >> Socarides, Richard

The son of a homophobic psychoanalyst, Richard Socarides became the first openly gay man to serve in a prominent White House staff position.


Barry, Richard. "Sheltered 'Children': The Self-Creation of a Safe Space by Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Students." Construction Sites: Excavating Race, Class, and Gender among Urban Youth. Lois Wise and Michelle Fine, eds. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000. 84-99.

Blumfled, Warren J. "Gay/Straight Alliances: Transforming Pain to Pride." The High School Journal 77.1-2 (1994): 113-21.

DiPlacido, Joanne. "Minority Stress among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals: A Consequence of Heterosexism, Homophobia, and Stigmatization." Stigma and Sexual Orientation: Understanding Prejudice Against Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals. Gregory M. Herek, ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1998. 138-59.

GLSEN. "About Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs)." (January 1, 2004):

Jennings, Kevin, ed. Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History forHigh School and College Students. Boston: Alyson Books, 1994.

_____. "Biography." E-mail to Victoria Shannon. August 12, 2008.

______. Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir of Growing Up, ComingOut, and Changing America's Schools. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.

_____, ed. One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell TheirStories. Boston: Alyson Books, 2005.

______, ed. Telling Tales Out of School: Gays, Lesbians, and BisexualsRevisit Their School Days. Boston: Alyson Books, 1998.

______, and Pat Shapiro. Always My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning Sonor Daughter. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

_____. Website:

Harbeck, Karen M. "Invisible No More: Addressing the Needs of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth and Their Advocates." School Journal 77.1-2 (1994): 169-76.

Human Rights Watch. Hatred in the Hallways: Violence and Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students in U. S. Schools. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001.

Lipkin, Arthur. "Project 10: Gay and Lesbian Students Find Acceptance in Their School Community." Teaching Tolerance 1.2 (1992): 24-27.

Mencimer, Stephanie. "The Revenge of Obama's Anti-Bullying Czar." Mother Jones (August 1, 2011):

Platt, Leah. "Not Your Father's High School Club." The American Prospect (2001): 37-39.

Robinson, Kristin E. "Gay Youth Support Groups: An Opportunity for Social Work Intervention." Social Work 36.5 (September 1991): 458-59.

Singerline, Hugh. "OutRight: Reflections on an Out-of-School Gay Youth Group." High School Journal 77.1-2 (1994): 133-37.

Snively, Carol A. "Building Community-Based Alliances Between GLBTQQA Youth and Adults in Rural Settings." Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, Special Edition on Building Coalitions and Changing Communities 16.3-4 (2004): 99-112.

Uribe, Virginia, and Karen M. Harbeck. "Addressing the Needs of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth: The Origins of PROJECT 10 and School-Based Intervention." Coming Out of the Classroom Closet: Gay and Lesbian Students, Teachers and Curriculum. Karen M. Harbeck, ed. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harrington Park Press, 1992. 9-28.


    Citation Information
    Author: Shannon, Victoria  
    Entry Title: Jennings, Kevin  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated August 2, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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