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What Pride Can Mean

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
Pride flag flying in between the Wisconsin flag and the United States flag on the flagpole in front of the DPI offices
The Pride flag, flanked by the flag of the state of Wisconsin and the United States flag. (DPI)

Pride-- it means self-respect, self-esteem, confidence… it even means a group of lions! And, every June, it serves as a month “celebrating and affirming the rights, equality, and culture of LGBTQ+ people'' (thank you, Merriam Webster).

Here at the Department of Public Instruction, we joined the Capitol and other state agencies in raising the Pride Flag in celebration and affirmation of LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites, including our LGBTQ+ students and educators. We also join the United State Department of Education in uplifting the rights, state organizations in ensuring equality, and schools and libraries across our state in creating welcoming environments and inclusive culture this month and every month. We invite you to join us!

Earlier this year, the federal government made meaningful progress by promoting systemic change. Since 1972, Title IX has opened doors for women and girls in federally funded education spaces and ensured an educational environment free from sexual harassment. On April 19, 2024, the federal government updated Title IX language to protect LGBTQ+ students and victims of assault. These revisions, known as the federal government’s Final Rule on Title IX, did not happen overnight, but rather through engagement with tens of thousands of stakeholders over several years.

GSAFE and Fair Wisconsin developed a website to help identify LGBTQ+ policies and procedures at the county, city, and school district level.

To learn more about local policies and procedures, check out the Wisconsin Equality Map.

Welcoming all students back to school in the fall is an incredibly important way to support LGBTQ+ students. Educators and staff should be mindful that students may be returning to school after coming out to themselves or others as LGBTQ+. Students may have experienced struggles and joys related to their identity.

Regardless, welcoming all students back into the school environment with best practices creates an inclusive environment for all. These best practices include: using the names and pronouns the student requests, using neutral language to address students, and recognizing that some students may have LGBTQ+ caregivers and families.

For more best practices, check out the LGBTQ+ student support module series.

Out for Safe Schools badges
We have free, ID-sized Out for Safe Schools badges available for school staff. These badges are a visible, wearable way to show students and staff that a person is supportive of LGBTQ+ students.Resources and information on the reverse side of the badges can help staff quickly locate support and resources for students and families.

Dr. Jill Underly, Wisconsin's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said, "As we celebrate Wisconsin’s incredible LGBTQ+ students, educators, and families, please know this: you belong in our schools, your stories belong in our libraries, and your perspectives are welcome and valued across our state. Happy Pride Month!"