How Teachers Can Be an Ally to All

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Description automatically generated– Glennon Doyle post on Instagram  

This post brought tears to my eyes. In a world where people are put on the defensive for being who they are, Glennon encourages PRIDE where there has often been shame, fear, and loneliness.  

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a course for Learners Edge using the book The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion by Kryss Shane. While reading, I’ve gained a deeper understanding about the LGBT+ community, inclusivity, and PRIDE. It is my hope that the sampling of information I’ve shared from the book below will help you, too.

Terminology 

Terminology can quickly become outdated. As we learn, grow, and change, so too do the terms we use. Below is terminology from The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion: 

  • Gender Identity: Refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, somewhere in between, or somewhere completely outside of the gender binary. 
  • Gender Expression: Relates to how a person chooses to communicate their gender identity. 
  • Gay: A man who is romantically and sexually attracted to other males.  
  • Lesbian: A woman whose romantic and sexual attraction is to other women.
  • Bisexual: A person who is sexually/romantically/emotionally attracted to both men and women, not necessarily simultaneously.
  • Transgender: A broad term meaning that a person’s gender identity does not match their assigned gender at birth.
  • Cisgender: A term to describe a person whose gender identity does match their assigned gender at birth.
  • Gender non-binary: A term to describe a person who identifies as a gender that is not male or female but may be a combination of the two or something different. 
  • Gender fluid: A term to describe a person whose gender identity may change or evolve over time.
  • Agender: A term used to describe a person who does not identify as having a gender. 

Assessing Your School

The author recommends a review of documents, flyers, emails, handbooks, hiring practices, staff training, orientations, and rules for inclusivity and to consider what the experience of school is like for those who identify as LGBT+.  

Inclusive Curricula

Until the time when your school or district is updating materials, the author champions the importance of updating lessons with the goal of inclusivity. Below are some of her suggestions. 

  • Math: Review word problems so they reflect a variety of people and consider gender-neutral names. Be mindful of stereotypes about math.  
  • Sciences: Be aware of biased research. Highlight the accomplishments of scientists from all races, genders, and backgrounds.
  • Social Studies: Like Civil Rights and Women’s Rights consider how studies about LGBT+ like the laws and treatment of those who identify as LGBT+ could be included in the curriculum.
  • English: Provide stories from a variety of authors ensuring people with disabilities, people of color, and from a variety of family types are included. 
  • World languages: Discuss the culture and politics in different parts of the world.
  • Physical Education: Allow children to wear comfortable clothing to school or make changing optional. Make sure all have a chance to participate in different ways. 
  • Music: Be sure to recognize the contributions of a variety of artists and to focus on inclusivity.  

In the Classroom and Direct Learning Spaces

What is the message of your learning space? Review your classroom or learning space to ensure it gives the message that everyone is welcome.   

Safety 

Currently, there are no mandates or federal protections against discrimination for those who identify as LGBT+. Individual states decide whether a person can be discriminated against if they identify as LGBT+.  

Allyship

The number of LGBT+ hate crimes continues to grow. Consider how you would respond to protect a person being victimized based on their identity.  

As we celebrate PRIDE, consider reading The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion. The information in the book can assist us all in becoming more aware, informed, and our schools more inclusive.    

For a list of suggested readings from The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion, click here 

Download Suggested Readings >>

Resources: 

Shane, K. The Educator’s Guide to LGBT+ Inclusion: A Practical Resource for K-12 Teachers, Administrators, and School Support Staff. 2020. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

Coming soon!  


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