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Creating Safe Classrooms for LGBTQ Students

A professional development workshop designed for ED572: Teaching Diverse Learners

Ashley McCulloch

on 21 June 2013

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Transcript of Creating Safe Classrooms for LGBTQ Students

And now, a little song by Macklemore...
LGB youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers (CDC, 2011 in The Trevor Project).
Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt (Grossman, 2007 in The Trevor Project).
LGBQ youth more likely than heterosexual youth to report bullying and subsatance abuse (CDC).
All students, regardless of sexual orientation, reported the lowest levels of depression, suicidal feelings, substance abuse, and unexcused absences from school when they were 1) in a positive school environment and 2) had not experienced gendered harassment (CDC).
Creating Safe Classrooms for LGBTQ Students
Our Purpose
The goal of this workshop is to explore issues with discrimination against students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community and how we, as educators, can work to create safe, inclusive classrooms for all of our students.
The simple answer? It's complicated!
Some of Our Recommendations...
Advocate for LGBTQ students
Find out if your school has a GSA, if not, consider starting one
Discourage the use of LGBTQ slurs in the school and in your classroom
Educate yourself on current issues facing the LGBTQ community
Go through further Ally training
Make your room a Safe Space for students
Consider displaying a Safe Space sign
Welcome students to spend time in your classroom before and after school and at lunch
Be there and open to listening to students
Clarify school, district, state, and federal policies about harassment and bullying to raise awareness in your school
Find ways to get the whole school on board for a positive community
Advocates for Youth: GLBTQ Issues: www.advocatesforyouth.org/component/customproperties/tag?tagId=14
An Ally's Guide to Terminology: www.glaad.org/files/allys-guide-to-terminology.pdf
Colorado GSA Network: www.cogsanetwork.org
Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN): www.glsen.org
Gay-Straight Alliance Network: www.gsanetwork.org
Gender Identity Center of Colorado: www.gicofcolo.org
GLAAD: www.glaad.org
Make It Better Project: makeitbetterproject.org/for-adults
Social Justice Edugraphics from It's Pronounced Metrosexual: www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/category/Edugraphics/
The Trevor Project: www.thetrevorproject.org/
www.stopbullying.gov - Through U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Directions: The goal of this self-reflection activity is to get you (the educator) to assess your own views concerning
LGBTQ students and how your beliefs and actions affect your students. Please be honest with yourself! You do not have to share your answers with anyone else if you do not choose to. Take some
time to answer the following questions on your own.
Paul Blakesley, Ashley McCulloch, & Wes Sparkes
Some National Statistics
Some Colorado-specific Statistics (GLSEN, 2013)
27% of students regularly heard staff make negative remarks about someone’s gender expression.
18% of students regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks.
Nearly all could identify at least one school staff member supportive of LGBT students.
Only 64% could identify many (6 or more) supportive school staff.
56% of students who were harassed or assaulted in school never reported it to school staff. 62% never told a family member about the incident.
Among students who did report incidents to school authorities, only 34% said that reporting resulted in effective intervention by staff.
Want to know more? Here are some additional resources to check out!
Resources Cited
LGBTQ Glossary (handout)
There are so many terms--and some people use different definitions for the same concept or have different terms for the same idea.
What is acceptable to one person may be offensive to another.
It is always a good idea to ask what each individual's preference/definition is so that you are operating with the same understanding in your conversation.
What do we mean when we start talking about LGBTQ identities, communities, and issues?
Have you ever said something that could be considered disrespectful to a LGBTQ individual (i.e. "That's so gay")?
How have you reacted or how do you think you
would react if a close friend or family member came out to you as LGBTQ?
Is making fun of someone, harassment, prejudice, or bullying of any kind acceptable in your classroom?
It is easy to identify outright harassment or bullying, but is there anything that occurs in your classroom that encourages heteronormativity (the belief that being heterosexual is the only accepted "norm")?
If you had a child in high school, what would you expect her teacher's role to be regarding how they approach topics of religion and political thought? Would you have the same expectations for how they handle issues of sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression?
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, May 19). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health-Youth. Retrieved June 20, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm
GLSEN. (2013). School Climate in Colorado (State Snapshot). New York: GLSEN.
Killermann, S. (n.d.) The genderbread person v2.0. [Infographic]. Retrieved June 19, 2013, from http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/03/the-genderbread-person-v2-0/
Macklemore & Lewis, R. (2012, October 2). Same love feat. Mary Lambert (official video). Retrieved June 20, 2013, from
The Trevor Project. (n.d.). Facts about suicide. Retrieved June 20, 2013, from http://www.thetrevorproject.org/suicide-prevention/facts-about-suicide
In small groups, take some time to brainstorm ideas about how you can make your classroom and school a safe place for LGBTQ students.
Everyone brings their own perspectives, beliefs, and experiences to the table, especially regarding LGBTQ issues today. That's okay. The thing to keep in mind is that our job as educators is to create safe, inclusive schools for ALL of our students.
Full transcript