Cathedral Building

Another Teaching Blog

Posts tagged lgbtq

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Bisexual Awareness Day: An Important New Study by HRC

Today is Bisexual Awareness Day, and HRC released a report along with BiNet USA, Bisexual Resource Center, and the Bisexual Organization Project that is very important in further understanding the stigmatization that many in the bisexual and pansexual community face on a regular basis.

Check out the full report here!

This is an incredibly important conversation to have and continue having until those with any and all sexualities and gender identities are welcomed within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community.

Kristin also weighed in with her own experience on the issue in an article on the same topic released today by Autostraddle.

Check out the Autostraddle article here!


This is something that I hear over and over again, not only from youth but from adults as well. When bisexual and pansexual youth come out and are told that they’re “faking” or need to “pick one,” that they’re “greedy” or “confused” or “going through a phase,” it invalidates their identity. And then, when they look to the adults in the community — if they can find any mention of bi- or pansexuality, as both are so frequently erased in the media and the streets — and see that little changes for them, that bi- and pansexual adults are still derided, belittled, and erased, what is the message we as adults are sending?

People often ask, “but how can I address these specific issues if I’m not working with youth I know or suspect to be part of the community?” It’s easy: examine your own behavior as adults, toward other adults as well as toward youth. Examine your actions and your attitudes. And if you’re still thinking of bisexuality or pansexuality as “the first stop to gay-town,” just a stepping stone, just experimentation, indecisiveness, or some comment on sexual appetite — stop. Re-evaluate. Think, “if a young person heard what I was thinking or saying right now, how would that affect their development as a person?”

You can change it.

Filed under education sexuality lgbtq social justice bisexuality pansexuality youth

4 notes

Anonymous asked: I have just started my student teaching at an elementary school in the lower grades. Teachers were discussing a student who "thinks they're a boy." I asked what bathroom they use and if the school lets them use the one they feel most comfortable in. One teacher said, "they're a girl so that's the restroom that they use." I have been meaning to ask the school nurse about school policy because I'm curious but I have not had the chance yet. I was curious about advice working with students this age.

Hi there anon,

This is definitely going to be a complicated issue — but it will probably be more complicated for the adults involved than the kids.  How are the kids reacting?  How about the student’s parents? 

Finding out about the school policy is an excellent start.  Be prepared for push-back; trying to act as a student teacher may be difficult.  Do you have an advising/mentor teacher?  A supervisor through your program?  Have you mentioned this to them yet?

There are a number of books out there both for kids at the early elementary grades and for adults that help introduce the idea of trans* issues and gender spectrum and non-conforming youth; it might be a little passive aggressive to just leave a few pieces of reading in the teachers’ lounge, though you could always feign having left it by accident by looking for it later.  

But if the administration is on board and/or you feel comfortable suggesting some informal (or formal, though most schools set those schedules far ahead of time) PD, I would suggest exposing the adults in the school to some important resources for schools regarding working with LGBTQ* issues — including and especially gender — in a way that’s safe and respectful for the students.  There are a number of resources out there aimed at schools but also at the elementary level specifically, which may come as a surprise to many people.  Gender Spectrum and PFLAG are some of my perpetual favorites. If you search “gender spectrum” and “education,” you can also find a number of articles that may outline specific things that you can do as a teacher to encourage acceptance and self-expression in your own classroom.

Please don’t hesitate to offer some more information, ask some more specific questions, or keep us updated.  I’d love to be of more help.

Filed under education gender trans* gender spectrum lgbtq gender orientation Anonymous

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Calling All Gender-Issues educators and Trans*-Activists, teachers and social workers and psychologists and community organizers alike (and of course, students too):

Abnormal Psych textbooks often address trans* issues and gender in a highly problematic light.  That may not come as a surprise — this is the field that didn’t remove homosexuality from our diagnostic manual until the seventies.

But when people try to teach with accompanying texts and find that those texts’ coverage of gender and trans* psychology is at the best outdated and at the worst inflammatory, discriminatory, inaccurate, and/or prejudicial, it’s up to the educator, if they are teaching responsibly, to have conversations about this material and/or supply or direct their students to more accurate and appropriate coverage.

This is where we can come in.

I have a number of sites, worksheets, etc., that can be useful to educators and student activists on a surface level and, in some cases, for deeper understanding, exploration, and discussion — but when you have a community at hand, one person’s voice should never be the only voice.

So tell me, with answers, asks, or reblogs, and it will be compiled over the course of the next few weeks: what are your best, favorite, or most often-used resources for educating older students, young adults, and especially other professionals, about trans* and gender-spectrum related issues?

Filed under education lgbtq trans* psychology social work trans transgender gender spectrum queer

108,652 notes


These posters are in the stalls of the bathrooms at my university (at least in the ladies, I haven’t asked anyone if they’re in the gents too. I hope so though). Thank you National Union of Students for doing it right. If only they put these posters up in all public bathrooms

If you have the option, consider a similar campaign in your school or work environment. I know I’ve personally had challenges in this area because I’m gender nonconforming and have been mistaken for a male in the women’s restroom many times…but haven’t felt safe enough to pass in the men’s on days when it would be appropriate. For many of us, without people being told outright that they are safe and that we need to be given that same right, public bathrooms can range from a source of anxiety to an outright dangerous situation.

(via milestaylorcosplay)

Filed under education lgbtq doing it right

26 notes


Have you considered the movie “Shelter” for your G/S Alliance?

No, but I just looked it up on Amazon.  The plot seems interesting, but according to Amazon, it’s R (and not available?)  I have to be careful with R-rated movies in school.  We typically do movie “nights” in my room after school.  So far we’ve done “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “RENT.”

A friend and I are trying to think of LGBTQ+ movies that would be appropriate, and all the ones we keep coming up with follow that terrible ending formula of “one character realizes they’re straight and the other comes out of it with an experience that makes them a better human being and somehow more part of the LGBTQ+ community by merit of having pursued a doomed relationship or something.”

Then I said “well we don’t get happy endings,” and she said, “No, you get Maurice.”

And then through this conversation about tropes in queer-oriented movies and how frequently they end in one-sided or tragic romance or a queer person snapping and killing people, I remembered — I had the perfect recommendation…but it was R-rated.  (The Celluloid Closet.)

HOWEVER.  I highly recommend looking at that documentary for future reference — and to pick out pieces that would be appropriate for your kids, because it’s an incredibly eye-opening film about the history of coding and the treatment of queer characters in Hollywood and television, and it was a big hit with our student group in college. 

And if the general public wants to be informed about history and also possibly depressed, but want to come away with an understanding and appreciation of where we’ve been and where we are to help think critically about where we’re headed, PBS has a top ten list of documentaries about LGBTQ+ issues that they released for Pride and, having seen several of these films, I’m inclined to suspect it’s a good list overall.  There’s a good focus on intersectionality — it isn’t your average “here are a handful of films all about the same hot topic and focusing mainly on white cis gay men with money.”

Filed under she recommended Bend it Like Beckham But that's subtext lgbtq education

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Rachel Maddow reports on an expected executive order from President Obama that would bar discrimination based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of Americans working for federal contractors.

Posting here as a matter of education because many people still believe that there are no real reasons for pushing for LGBTQ rights; that marriage is our only issue; that people have opinions and those are all we have to contend with.


Rachel Maddow reports on an expected executive order from President Obama that would bar discrimination based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of Americans working for federal contractors.

Posting here as a matter of education because many people still believe that there are no real reasons for pushing for LGBTQ rights; that marriage is our only issue; that people have opinions and those are all we have to contend with.

(via girlwithalessonplan)

Filed under lgbtq education

33 notes

It’s Pride Month.

I’ve seen a delightful mix of things going around, and if you’re looking for resources, you can check out the LGBTQ tag both on this blog and in general.  I’m actually not as familiar currently with the great LGBTQ blogs out there in tumblr-land at the moment, but I’ll repost any that come my way.

And remember, when the debate over allies’ place in the community pops up as it is wont to do: Allies are not the emcee.  Allies are the techs making sure the mics are working so that LGBTQ folks’ voices are heard when (we/they) speak.  If you are an ally and find yourself asking why there isn’t more focus on allies, please ask yourself why you are an ally, what you get out of it, what your purpose is as an ally, what you feel you should get out of it, and again, why you are an ally.

As always, my ask box is open (and anon available) if any questions pop up that I can be of help answering!

Filed under education lgbtq I work with youth and I'm queer

128 notes

nigga-shark-deactivated20140809 asked: can you explain the pronouns "Ze, Hir, Hirs, &c." because my teacher hasen't taught us the concept and I am curious


It’s not something normally taught in school, and it hasn’t breached the national lexicon, so your teacher may not know about it. 

You’re asking about pronouns that are gender neutral.  The English language does not have gender neutral pronouns for PEOPLE.  “It” is used for animals and inanimate objects.  “They” is neutral plural for anything.







Tumblr has been the one place where I have seen this usage used consistently and accepted and understood in the lexicon and code of this space.  The gender neutral pronouns are great because in some cases, it improves English (especially because “they” as a gender neutral singular is contradictory and wrong***) and it is inclusive to people in the queer community who are gender fluid, nonbinary, questioning, or transitioning.

Hope that helps! 

***by “wrong” I mean according the rules of Standard American English. Adding new words solves the issue.

Thanks to GWALP for adding a qualification when I noted the issue with They.

I mentioned it because I have several friends who personally prefer ‘they’ as their chosen pronoun, as opposed to hir or ze (or yo or other innovative vocabulary).  And, while on some level it is considered grammatically wrong, there are many circles who consider the singular they as appropriate, sometimes even seen in academic texts.  But more importantly in this particular situation, if ‘they’ is a person’s chosen pronoun over hir or ze or others, it’s important to respect that when addressing them. 

While adding new words solves the potential grammatical issue with a singular ‘they’, particularly in situations (such as how GWALP uses them frequently) where there is no assumed or stated gender of the speaker, when interacting with an individual who has stated a pronoun preference of they, being more or less grammatically ‘wrong’ is not an issue that applies. 

I just wanted to reblog and elaborate as it seems that this is a very new concept for many people, which is awesome that they’re being introduced to it, and I just wanted to clarify that issue so that no one accidentally polices in a well-meaning (“you could use (hir/ze), it’s better”) way.  I personally know individuals who use ze as well as individuals who use they.  It all depends on the individual being addressed.

Filed under It's a mixed bag I use she but also answer to he education lgbtq gwalp girlwithalessonplan gender

53 notes

carvaskull asked: hi! I'm a non-binary English Education major who's going to student teach next year. you answered a question about teaching students about ze/hir pronouns, which happen to be the ones I use. do you think it would be safe/alright to ask my students to use those (and a gender-neutral honorific like "Mx.") to refer to me? I'm really worried about catching flak for my pronouns/gender identity when I start teaching.


"Mx."  Is a new one to me!  How is that pronounced phonetically? 

I don’t see it as any different than introducing yourself on the first day.  “Hi everyone I’m Mx. Smith.  That’s right I said Mx. because that’s how I like to be addressed.  If you want, you can just call me Smith.”  And then cover ze/hir later.  (Also, referring to teachers as last name only is common where I teach and not seen as disrepectful.) 

Like, I was pretty emphatic about “Miss” before I became married, not Ms.  Whereas other female unmarried teachers are adamant about Ms. 

However, that’s a much safer distinction to make as a cis female.  You need to feel out your host teacher on this one.  Ze will know the environment better to know if it’s safe for you to do that in the school. 

I hope that was a little helpful. 

As someone who falls in the grey genderqueery area myself and would rather use Mx. than Ms. any day of the week, My advice would be to discuss it with your mentor teacher before anything else and read it from there. It’s also important to remember that ultimately, they have the final call in the classroom — and if they themselves find this objectionable, it may not only be difficult to find a way for students to understand the concept depending on the area and background, but also difficult for you to be successful in the classroom with the mentor teacher if said mentor will not give you respect in regards to your pronouns and preferred form of address.

Am I saying stay in the closet, re: gender? Noooo no no. I’m saying whatever you do, tell the mentor teacher before you tell the students. I would say this with anything from pronouns to telling stories about your cat to suggesting a classroom activity. Always tell the mentor teacher before the students; never surprise the person in charge of the classroom and your evaluations. That also removes surprises for you. If there’s going to be “flak” from the mentor teacher before you even get into the classroom, you want to know before you’re, for personal example, a month and a half into the semester and being told you really need to start wearing clearly gendered clothing and sending more standard gender messages because the kids are asking too many questions and you’re confusing them.

If they take issue, it will give you time to discuss this with your supervisor at school, with professors you trust, etc. It will give you time to figure out how to address it both with the professionals and the students. It may be that some environments may not be easy (or even safe) to work in while maintaining your gender expression, as a student or as a licensed professional, and it will be a lesson in feeling out where is and isn’t and learning how to maneuver in less ideal situations.

And if they’re totally cool with it, it may give them an opportunity to share ideas with you about how to address it. Heck, maybe it’s something they’ve already done with their kids before and they already have advice as to how to make it go smoothly.

Filed under Hope this doesn't offend It's my perspective as someone who isn't exactly binary who has been there teaching is complicated gender is complicated adults are complicated sometimes moreso this way than the kids are kids can be more willing to learn education lgbtq best case and worst case girlwithalessonplan sorry for hijacking