Pride Month is coming to a close but creating safe and inclusive school environments for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) students, and students with LGBTQ family members, is more than a single-month effort.
According to a recent survey from research firm RTI International, LGBTQ students are two to three times more likely than their peers to be physically assaulted or threatened at school, and are “in urgent need of safe and tolerant environments.” But school personnel, who may be in a position to help, often “lack the knowledge and skills to advocate for them.” The Human Rights Campaign says inclusive schools are essential: “It’s simple: students who don’t feel safe can’t focus on learning. Once students feel like they belong, they thrive academically and socially.” The following are some of the many online training and education resources available for teachers and students.
- The Anti-Defamation League offers a set of curricula and recommended books on topics such as marriage equality, LGBTQ history, transgender students, bullying and hate-crime prevention at no cost at this link. Resources include standards-based downloadable lesson plans organized by grade level. According to the Anti-Defamation League, LGBTQ history “is American history and should be integrated into the curriculum throughout the school year.”
- The nonprofit LGBTQ education advocacy group GLSEN, which has chapters in Los Angeles and San Diego, provides tools for teachers and students, including lesson plans, book recommendations, a blog with frequent posts about LGBTQ students and school supports for them and a research-focused Twitter feed. In a recent post on GLSEN’s blog entitled “Six ways I make my science class LGBTQ-inclusive as a trans teacher,” middle-school teacher Lewis Maday-Travis provides concrete suggestions for creating an inclusive classroom.
- Facing History and Ourselves, an international education and professional development nonprofit, has an extensive selection of training and curricular resources on bullying and ostracism, many related to LGBTQ and gender identity issues.
- Three organizations (Advocates for Youth, Answer at Rutgers University, and Youth Tech Health) recently launched an initiative called AMAZE that provides animated YouTube videos geared to 10-14 year olds on topics such as gender expression, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The project also provides educators with tips and conversation starters at this link.
- The Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools Initiative also offers a wealth of resources such as lesson plans and staff training materials. Particularly helpful are their “Answering Challenging Questions” and “LGBTQ Definitions” sections for adults and children.