Creating Queer Friendly Classrooms
Here are some simple steps any teacher can take to help their classroom become more queer friendly.
The following post is also available as a pdf download.
Find an ally.
Identify a supportive colleague or friend to share ideas with, brainstorm solutions, and celebrate successes.
Review your classroom visuals.
Is there one group of people that is overly represented in visuals and posters in your classroom? Are your visuals reinforcing or challenging stereotypes? Collaborate with your students to create a classroom everyone can be proud of.
Read diverse books.
Introduce books whose characters challenge traditional gender roles, who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and who represent a variety of experiences and backgrounds.
Simply saying words such as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in a natural, affirming way teaches a powerful lesson.
Confront gender role assumptions.
Challenge gender stereotypes such as, “all girls take ballet,” and “all boys like sports.” Avoid gender segregation. Mix girls and boys when lining up or dividing into teams or groups.
Know your rights.
Become familiar with local and state policies on anti-bullying, student and staff rights and protections.
Enhance standard curriculum.
Include a queer perspective when teaching history, current events, or when discussing families.
Build a foundation of respect.
Discuss expectations about respecting peers. Hold classroom meetings to strategize solutions when teasing or bullying occurs. Intervene whenever you hear slurs of any kind.
Embrace teachable moments.
Take advantage of unplanned teachable moments such as when you hear a gay or gender stereotype, when someone says, “That’s so gay,” or when a student shares an experience in their life.
Just do it!
Respect and acknowledge differences, keep an open mind, ask questions, and challenge yourself!
This post is also available as a pdf download.