What do you think caused your
When and how did you decide you were
Do your parents know you are straight?
Is it possible that your heterosexuality is a
Lauren M. Kenney, “Being
out and reading queer-
inclusive texts in a high
school English classroom”
in Act Out! Combating
“I had never before
heterosexuality so clearly
as that day when I
participated in its
enactment. [...] While I
(and any other invisible
LGBTQ students in that
room) sat, passive,
reduced to a hypothetical
problem the straight
people would have to
struggle with in their
Roughly 1 in 10 students identify as LGBT
or report same-sex sexual contact.
Students who identify as LGBT are
› 4x more likely to have attempted suicide in
the past year
› 4x more likely to have skipped school
because of feeling unsafe
MA High School Students
and Sexual Orientation
Results of the 2009 Youth
Risk Behavior Survey
The vast majority of LGBT students in MA
regularly heard homophobic remarks, sexist
remarks, and negative remarks about
Most LGBT students in MA have been
victimized at school.
LGBT students in MA often do not have
access to in-school
resources and supports.
GLSEN 2011 National
School Climate Survey:
Individual students feel safer at school
when LGBT issues are included in the
curriculum (LGBT & straight)
School climates are safer when LGBT
issues are part of the curriculum.
LGBTQ-inclusive lessons that are rated as
“mostly supportive” of LGBTQ people/
issues positively affect
school climate as a
California Preventing School
Harassment survey (2006)
Assumptions of heterosexuality
Heteronormative : denoting or relating to
a world view that promotes
heterosexuality as the normal or
preferred sexual orientation.
Heterosexism : discrimination or
prejudice against homosexuals on the
assumption that heterosexuality is the
normal sexual orientation.
Use inclusive language
Avoid the “foods and festivals” pitfall
Avoid scenarios which position students
to feel pity for LGBTQ figures
Assume students are LGBTQ or straight
allies (don’t position students as straight
Expect respectfulness and kindness from
all students at all times
6. Watch for
7. Consider the power
8. Avoid negative
9. Be careful about
10. Confront bias
1. Don’t assume
students are straight
2. Don’t assume being
LGBT is a problem
3. Don’t “out” people
4. Let students self-
5. Don’t assume
gender and sex are
English Language Arts
› Include books and stories by queer authors
and/or about queer characters
› Acknowledge LGBTQ authors of study (Emily
Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Tennessee Williams,
› Include or acknowledge queer readings of
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Globe Theatre, 2013
History and social studies
› Acknowledge the contributions of LGBTQ
figures (Bayard Rustin, Harvey Milk)
› Acknowledge the queerness of historical
figures (Alexander the Great, Eleanor
Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony)
› Learn about key events in LGBTQ history
(Stonewall Riots, persecution during WWII,
Lavender Scare during McCarthyism)
› Explore the status of LGBTQ people in target
countries or cultures
› Learn about third genders in cultures around
the world (Femminiello in Italy, Muxe or
Muxhe in Mexico, Travesti in South America)
› Learn LGBTQ vocabulary
› Acknowledge the contributions of queer
scientists (Alan Turing, Francis Bacon, Isaac
› Analyze LGBTQ demographic trends and
create charts or infographics
› Examine LGBTQ topics in subjects such as
biology, genetics, or psychology
Health and Wellness
› Include information for LGBTQ students when
learning about sexual health
› Provide resources which address needs of
LGBTQ students (coming out, health, legal
› Cover topics such as sex versus gender,
sexual orientation and gender identity
› Common mistake only addressing the
LGBTQ community when discussing HIV/AIDS
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice,
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a
mouse and you say that you are neutral,
the mouse will not appreciate your
~ Desmond Tutu
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the
victim. Silence encourages the tormentor,
never the tormented.”
~ Elie Wiesel
Biegel, Stuart. The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and
Gender Identity in America's Public Schools. Minneapolis, MN:
U of Minnesota, 2010.
Blackburn, Mollie V. Acting Out!: Combating Homophobia
through Teacher Activism. New York: Teachers College, 2010.
Clark, Caroline T., and Mollie V. Blackburn. "Reading LGBT-
themed Literature with Young People: What's
Possible?" English Journal 98.4 (2009): 25-32.
DeWitt, Peter. Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2012.
Dunn, Natasha. "Diversity in the Classroom - LGBT."
Slideshare.net, 30 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Dykes, Frank. "Transcending Rainbow Flags and Pride
Parades." SRATE Journal 19.2 (2010): 36-43.
Holwerda, L. "Sexuality In Curriculum." Slideshare.net, 31 Oct.
2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Krywanczyk, Loren. "Queering Public School Pedagogy as a
First-Year Teacher." The Radical Teacher No. 79 (2007): 27-34.
Schrader, Alvin. "Nowhere to Turn, Nowhere to Go: Library &
Information Services for Sexual & Gender (LGBTQ) Minorities."
Slideshare.net, 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Straut, Diana, and Mara Sapon-Shevin. ""But No One in the
Class Is Gay": Countering Invisibility and Creating Allies in
Teacher Education Programs." Getting Ready for Benjamin.
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 29-41.
Weinberg, Michael. "LGBT-Inclusive Language." English
Journal 98.4 (2009): 50-51.
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