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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 witnessed
and 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 careers.”
Roughly 1 in 10 students identify as LGBT or
report same-sex sexual contact.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are
› 6x more likely to have attempted suicide in the
› 5x more likely to have skipped school because of
Massachusetts High School Students and Sexual Orientation Results
of the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The vast majority of LGBT students in Maine
regularly heard homophobic remarks, sexist
remarks, and negative remarks about gender
Most LGBT students in Maine have been
victimized at school.
Many LGBT students in Maine do not have
access to in-school resources and supports.
GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Survey:
Maine State Snapshot
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 whole.
California Preventing School Harassment survey (2006)
Assumptions of heterosexuality
Too noticeable to
Straut & Sapon-Shevin (2002).
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
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
Biegel (2010); Clark & Blackburn (2009); Dykes (2010);
Straut & Sapon-Shevin (2002); Weinberg (2009).
6. Watch for connotative
7. Consider the power of
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 the same
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 at the Globe
Theatre 2013. Photos by Alastair Muir.
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
› Learn about key events in LGBTQ history
(Stonewall Riots, persecution during WWII,
Lavender Scare during McCarthyism)
Bayard Rustin, an civil rights activist featured in March by John
Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.
› 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
Language Arabic Chinese Greek Japanese
Word مثلي (miθli) 同志
Meaning gay gay lesbian bisexual
Literal or other
of the same comrade Sappho fan two-sword
expert in two
Via: wiktionary.com and
› 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
Excerpt from “Health Disparities Faced By the
Transgender Community” by Fenway Health.
Excerpt from “Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Health
Disparities in New York City” by
Empire State Pride Agenda
“Bisexuals Face Severe Health Disparities
by the Bisexual Resource Center.
“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 neutrality.”
~ 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
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.
Nov. 4, 2020
Mar. 30, 2020
Strategies and best practices for integrating LGBTQ content into the school curriculum.