- Teach through an equity lens and reflect to make sure all students are feeling supported.
- Some questions to ponder include how are: How do you support your LGBTQ+ students and colleagues? How are you an ally? What kind of materials are you using in your classroom that include all gender identities and sexual orientations?
- Other questions for school leaders and other staff members to ponder are shared.
I have been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community ever since my closest friend from college came out to me back at our favorite hangout way back in the mid-’90s. During his coming-out journey, I spent a lot of time with him and experienced the world of drag queens and pride parades through his eyes. I believe this experience made me a more open and accepting educator when I entered the classroom a few years later.
How Do You Support Your LGBTQ+ Students?
I recall my first “out and proud” student was in 2005. This high school sophomore was comfortable being his authentic self at that particular school. I supported my first openly transgender student in 2014 when she came to me often before school to hang out and chat. She was socially transitioning, yet many teachers still misgendered her. She was a high school senior by then and was going to move to another city after graduation where she felt she could more freely be her authentic self. I talk about this experience in a podcast episode from Out of the Trenches with Jen Cort. Jen often provides PD on supporting all students and teaching through an equity lens.Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or are an ally, we can all make sure to use inclusive language. Be a welcoming place for all in our buildings by what we display on the walls and on our websites. Click To Tweet
The Gift of Listening: Questions to Ponder
During this Pride Month, my questions for you to ponder are:
How do you support your LGBTQ+ students and colleagues? How are you an ally? What kind of materials are you using in your classroom that include all gender identities and sexual orientations?
If you’re a school leader, do LGBTQ+ staff at your school feel supported? Do you ensure your hiring practices include a diverse staff in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity? Do you know what the human resources policy is when a staff member is hired who identifies as non-binary or of a different gender than on their driver’s license?
For all staff, are you ensuring there is a safe space for transgender and non-binary students to use the restroom and to change for P.E. class? Do you advocate for proper name changes on your student information system that occur in a timely manner? Do you use your preferred pronouns during virtual meetings to support one’s gender identity?[scroll down to keep reading]
Discovering Your LGBTQ+ Students’ Leadership Potential
Another conversation I had for the Out of the Trenches podcast that was published recently was with Dr. Steve Yacovelli, aka “The Gay Leadership Dude.” He wrote a book entitled “Pride Leadership,” which is a leadership book for both LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies. In the book and on the podcast, Steve identifies the six key leadership traits. Those traits are: being authentic, leading with courage, having empathy, effective communication, building relationships, and influencing organizational culture. Banking on these traits can greatly increase any LGBTQ+ leader’s effectiveness.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or are an ally, we can all make sure to use inclusive language. Be a welcoming place for all in our buildings by what we display on the walls and on our websites. Read this article, “Tips for Making Classrooms More Inclusive as Students Head Back to School” by HRC for more tips!
About Dana Goodier
Dr. Dana Goodier has 20 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating. She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. She is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: www.danagoodier.com