Join AACTE’s New LGBTQ Topical Action Group

Are you interested in advocacy and inclusion in teacher preparation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues? How can teacher education better support family diversity and gender-diverse and transgender youth, as well as address gender stereotyping and bias-based bullying topics in teacher preparation? Please join me in forming a new AACTE topical action group (TAG) to address these questions together!

According to a recent update from the Human Rights Campaign, 201 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in 34 states this year, which comprises 76% of legislatures in session this year. However, only 3% of the total measures have been enacted. In Kansas, for example, senators encouraged schools and universities to disregard federal Title IX guidance that protects against discrimination, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. North Carolina recently passed HB2, which denies transgender people use of bathrooms aligned with their gender identity. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke recently on the issue of the U.S. Department of Justice suing North Carolina over the law:

This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion, and open-mindedness. What we must not do—what we must never do—is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human. This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.

In the face of the recent massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando and a long history of violence against LGBTQ people, it is time for us to step up our advocacy and inclusion in credential programs, to prepare new teachers for their charge to create safe, welcoming, and inclusive schools for all youth, children, and families.

Our new TAG is a collaborative, interdisciplinary group that advocates for the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in teacher preparation, through law and policy, curriculum and instruction, school environment, peer relationships, and family partnerships.

Educators and families need to know the rights and responsibilities of schools to ensure nondiscriminatory environments and curricula that impact all children. Teacher preparation programs are often the first places where educators learn to address bias, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as how to collaborate with school districts to make schools safe, welcoming, and inclusive for gender nonconforming and LGBTQ youth and families.

Intended TAG projects include a landscape survey, an online resource hub, a white paper recommending curriculum enhancements, and other projects related to the activities and advocacy of the TAG members.

Related topics for our TAG include:

  • The role of an adult in supporting LGBTQ youth as they navigate school spaces
  • Community-based approaches that help schools build safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments, pedagogies, and curriculum
  • Curriculum and pedagogy approaches that include representation of LGBTQ youth, families, and communities in schools
  • Advocacy approaches that promote LGBTQ youth life experiences, social views, community relationships, funds of knowledge, and political actions as part of schooling
  • School interpretations and implementations of LGBTQ-related, school-based law and policy
  • School-based practices that reach 21st-century learning goals (creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration) through LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, pedagogy, and school climate practices
  • Role of multimedia, multiliteracies, youth-participatory action research, youth leadership, and family-based learning in LGBTQ inclusive schooling
  • Teacher and administrator navigation of barriers and challenges to building safe, welcoming, LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms
  • Family navigation of barriers and challenges with schools
  • Teacher educator approaches to integrating LGBTQ topics into educational foundations and subject matter preparation courses, supporting student teacher LGBTQ advocacy, and topic integration during fieldwork
  • Forming and facilitating formal or informal LGBTQ-inclusive school groups
  • Examining assumptions, privileges, and ways to transform them
  • What it means to be an ally, considerations, self-reflections
  • Supporting transgender youth in elementary, middle, and high school, such during the process of gender transition
  • Supporting gender-nonbinary, nonconforming, creative youth in elementary, middle, and high school
  • Supporting LGBTQ youth who are homeless and/or in foster care
  • Addressing intersecting identities related to race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability in elementary, middle, and high school

Please contact me if you are interested in joining the LGBTQ Advocacy and Inclusion in Teacher Preparation TAG.

Sharon Chappell is associate professor in the department of Elementary and Bilingual Education at California State University, Fullerton. Read about her recent work in teacher preparation to support LGBTQ youth and families:

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Sharon Chappell

California State University, Fullerton