Head on over and check out this resource for friends, families, and allies of trans individuals: Our Trans Loved Ones
The Bathroom Pass
Do you remember the routine for going to the bathroom in elementary school? I sure do. It went a little something like this:
1. Raise your hand
2. Ask: May I use the bathroom?
3. If the answer was yes, walk up and grab the appropriate bathroom pass of which there were two options—-
Boys and Girls and many of them had a “gender accepted” color on them ranging in some sort of blue or pink.
My question is do we need to continue this practice? Sure, keep the bathroom pass it’s the responsibility of the teacher to know where students are. Let’s change the decision though.
Instead of having a pass with Boys and Girls written on them consider the following alternatives:
Meet Carrie Colpitts a good friend and fierce advocate for LGBTQ youth. Carrie is a teacher, zine maker, and cat person.
As we work our way through April heading towards the end of the school year, consider thinking about how you can revamp your inclusion and awareness of LBTQ youth in your school.
The Power of Language, Visibility, and Advocacy
-Root your words and actions in kindness.
I use that phrase a lot, it’s always written above the board in my classroom and I say it as a gentle reminder to students.
Much of the work I do in making my classroom a safe space is done the first few days of school. The first minute, the first hour, the first day, the first week…those are extremely important times that set the tone in the classroom for the whole year. The first things on this list of ideas for making a welcoming classroom should be done on the very first days of school. Taking time to do these things will make the school year easier for every kid in your room who might need a little extra reassurance that you are committed to making a safe(r) space for them.
This post begins the monthly guest education blogger. I want to thank this blogger for their awareness and dedication to integrating diversity in student identities to their conversations in science class.
Teaching Biology Beyond XX and XY
Regardless of what subject you teach, education is, by default, political. As educators, we make choices to expose students to certain information, and it is our responsibility to provide accurate and thorough access to a variety of ideas. We must recognize that students come to us with a wide range of experiences and that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, deserve to be respected and to hear their own stories echoed within the classroom.
In my science classroom, I specifically aim to empower students to become scientifically responsible global citizens who can make educated decisions about their roles in the world. Students will often debate about climate change or the evidence for evolution, but sometimes it is more personal: when learning about heredity, a student might begin to wonder what genetic traits his or her child will have. Continue reading
A great resource from Matt Kailey on the importance of training educators on the need to trans students.
A reader writes: “I will be talking and teaching teachers about being transgender and working with them to create a safer school climate and a respectful school climate. This particular school is getting its first trans boarding student. Several teachers have asked about the other students, as in, ‘They should be told that the new student is trans’ and ‘We need to protect the trans student and we need to protect the other students.’ How would you respond to this?
“I know it takes time to get used to something unfamiliar. I also believe, even in private high schools, that teachers must leave their baggage at the door, which is hard, but we did it with big areas like religion, racism, etc. How would you help faculty see what they need to do to create not only awareness, but eventually acceptance?”
I have done Safe Schools training in the past…
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The second project I’m beginning for this blog is a guest blog post each month from someone who works in schools to create a more inclusive classroom for LGBTQIA youth.
Here are a few previews for what’s to come next:
March: Gain an insight of how one science teacher integrates conversations about LGBTQIA youth in the classroom.
April: Tips on creating inclusive school environments and public accommodations
May: One Social Worker discusses how they engage students in essential conversations on LGBTQIA topics.
People often want to be respectful, but are unsure of what to do if they are unsure of someone’s preferred pronouns. In my post on creating an inclusive classroom I talked about the importance of this. Take a look at this clip from the show So Popular with Janet Mock discussing pronouns in terms of Bruce Jenner’s transition. Continue reading
In the past few years different youth theatre groups, filmmakers, and documentaries have emerged to the masses to better educate and show the lives of LGBTQ youth. Below are 4 must watch documentaries. Some are in the process of being produced. Others are free and available online. Another aspect of all of these shows/films are that the individuals in them are all LGBTQ. Educators take a few moments to watch these and explore how they might be useful in your schools or as a resource for students.
The Year We Though About Love
What happens when a diverse group of LGBTQ youth dares to be “out” on stage to reveal their lives and their loves?
“The Year We Thought About Love” goes behind the scenes of one of the oldest queer youth theaters in America, with our camera crew slipping into classrooms, kitchens, subways, and rehearsal rooms with this fearless and endearing troupe. Boston-based True Colors: OUT Youth Theater transforms daily struggles into performance for social change. With, candor, and attitude, our cast of characters captivates audiences surprised to hear such stories in school settings. Our film introduces a transgender teenager kicked out of her house, a devout Christian challenging his church’s homophobia, and a girl who prefers to wear boys’ clothing even as she models dresses on the runway. When bombs explode outside their building, the troupe becomes even more determined to share their stories of love to help heal their city.”
Source: The Year We Thought About Love
“Passing” profiles the lives of three men of colour who have undergone gender transition from female to male. The film explores what life is like living as a black man when no one knows you are transgender and how each of them now, perceives their own journey with gender after many years of being interacted with by the world as a biological man.”
Source: “Passing” INDIEGOGO Campaign
“Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word” takes viewers inside the challenging and inspiring lives of seven transgender youths from across the country. Learn their incredible stories, and how their determination to live an authentic life is helping them become the person they are truly meant to be. Emmy-nominated actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox serves as executive producer and host of this moving and thought-provoking documentary.”
Source: Taken from MTV Website
Source: Brothers Series
This post has been weighing on my mind since early December. I wrote an Op-ed for the Advocate about public accommodations in schools for students who are transgender. Think about how being treated like everyone else in school can positively affect your day? Just before and after this piece came out there were several suicides within the transgender youth community. This saddens me that these individuals are gone and didn’t have the support and resources they needed. As an educator I want students to know that there are many of us who are here to support you, listen to you, and here to help you find resources. Continue reading