I truly found this article an insightful and useful resource for anyone not only working with but for anyone that spends time with today’s youths. I thought it was wonderful that the authors incorporated classroom examples as well as educating the reader on how to better name and teach LGBT. LGBT has recently become a more spoken about topic that it was in the past because of new laws and publicity on the topic. I think it’s important for all educators and youth workers to read Safe Spaces and learn how to better discuss sexuality and transgender.
“First, educators must ensure that the curriculum includes the perspectives, experiences, and history of LGBT people. Second, educators must ensure that communication inside the classroom walls validates the LGBT experience. But you can’t validate an experience you never talk about. Thus, educators need to become as comfortable using the words that refer to sexual orientation and gender identity…”(98-99).
Well, this basically sums it up to me… exactly what we’ve been talking about all semester. We must name sexual orientation, the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, and name gender identity and what it means to be transgender. Then we can open up a dialogue and teach children what it means to be any of these things and what it means to be a part of a LGBT family. Simply, brushing off LGBT is not the answer and it doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help those of the LGBT community and it doesn’t help the children that don’t know what it is to be a part of this community.
For teachers to ignore LGBT issues, it gives a negative undertone to the phrase LGBT. Even if the teacher thinks he or she is doing the right thing by not addressing issues it serves as a great injustice. “Refusing to talk about LGBT issues or showing discomfort when LGBT topics arise are nonverbal messages that tell youth that being LGBT is abnormal or wrong” (82). I loved how the authors of Safe Spaces used the terms incubator and outcubators to explain how the home (incubator) is where children learn family values and the beliefs of their family and the classroom (outcubator) is the place for children to learn behaviors outside of their family’s beliefs. The classroom should a place where children learn about communities outside their own and how society works. “The off-stated objective is for children to learn that families come in different shapes and sizes, live in different dwellings, observe different traditions, and celebrate different holidays… The idea is that tolerance will grow as students gain appreciation for difference (85). The LGBT community needs to be advocated for just as much as and race or religion. We should not teach children that being white is best, or being Christian is best, so let’s not teach them that being heterosexual is best.
|The Time is NOW|