Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Due date: Wednesday November 28, 2012

For your final guest speaker response please create a comment to this posting to share your thoughts about today's topic LGBTQ

Review notes here.
Think about your experience with LGBTQ. Is this an issue that has come up in your placements? How will you ensure that you meet the needs of this population as a future educator?


  1. Growing up in Beaverton, Oregon, I observed a moderate support of LGBTQ in my public schools. There were Gay Straight Alliance programs in my high school, and I never witnessed any student being targeted negatively for their sexual orientation. What I did observe, however, was a lot of inappropriate language involving LGBTQ people. Comments like "that's gay" was common, as well as guys using the word "fagot" as an insult. Today in my placements I don't hear nearly as much of this language, especially at my alternative high school placement Merlo Station. All of the teachers there wear rainbow pins on their lanyards which I think is cool. I'm unsure about what programs go on there, but I would be very surprised if they did not have one supporting LGBTQ.

    As a future educator I want to do my best to support this population. I think the #1 thing any teacher can do is have a zero tolerance policy for any comments that put down LGBTQ, even if the intent is not to do so. As a straight white male, I have the ability to speak for what is right without being accused of bias, and I view this as a responsibility to do just that. While I can never know what it is like to be discriminated against like blacks, latinos,other races of minority, and LGBTQ students, I can still do my best to empathize. I also need to educate myself that much more on the entirety of such issues. It is not enough just to tell students "don't say that." You need to tell them why it's wrong.

    1. Speaking up against any form of discrimination is a huge first step and requires an act of courage. I have profound respect and appreciation for those people who have had - thinking civil rights movement for instance - currently have, and will have the conviction to stand up for social justice. If not for them - for us - our human evolution is at risk.

  2. In my high school placement I have never witnessed discrimination of any kind towards any students regarding their sexual orientation. However, I know this is a false sense of perception since I am only there limited time and am an authority figure (somewhat I guess). I know inappropriate language and bullying does occur behind the social curtains of high school students involving LGBTQ community. From "that's gay" to actual events of discrimination, I do not know the extent or range. I hate to say it but kids can be mean, they don't really understand the consequences and affects their actions have in the universe (or care at this point in their lives). This is all part of growing up, learning from worldly experiences, and becoming an individual of course, but I have to ask, didn't we all see "Lord of the Flies" high school?
    For the most part I think teachers at Glencoe are supportive, but it is not obvious to me or overtly recognizable via posters, literature, art, etc. I do have a couple students who are open with their sexual orientation and have identified as homosexual and to me it appears they have many friends, are popular within the dynamics of the class, and show academic success. By these symptoms I would conclude that their life in high school seems to be okay and a relatively normal high school experience. I do not know these students real well yet so I am making outward assumptions, so take little from that statement. As far as the future goes I agree exactly with what Alex said-as a white straight (married) women... "I have the ability to speak for what is right without being accused of bias, and I view this as a responsibility to do just that. While I can never know what it is like to be discriminated against like blacks, latinos,other races of minority, and LGBTQ students, I can still do my best to empathize. I also need to educate myself that much more on the entirety of such issues. It is not enough just to tell students "don't say that." You need to tell them why it's wrong." I couldn't have put it any better so I thought I would quote it instead. We all are constricted in our perceptions due to our positionality. The only way this lens can change is if we reflect on our own prejudices and educate ourselves on the issues we find to be sensitive in our understanding.

    1. Thanks for your response Holly. My sense is that sometimes people feel guilty for the racial and discriminatory legacy that exists in this country, and so often don't want to talk about it. They might see themselves as being colour-blind or gay-blind [etc] not realizing that this stance is often criticized for negating people who are diverse [i.e. a convenient way to skirt over the issue rather than really tackling it]. That you are able to move beyond this, recognize ways in which your colour & sexual orientation have privileged you, and commit to educating yourself while working for social justice is an important stand to take as a future educator.

  3. In my placements, I have never experienced and witnessed any discrimination towards the students in my classroom. This is kind of like the same as Holly's point in that I am only there for once in week and I don't know what's the culture like on a daily basis. But, we have all used some inappropriate language pertaining to the LGBTQ community from time to time. We innately do it whether we like it or not. Even I say that is so "gay" at times, but it's not meant to be offensive to anyone. I keep checking myself of what I can or cannot say in the public eye because on the outside they can appear to be the stereotypical jock but then be this other person behind closed doors. It is because I have experienced this situation where I wasn't being a "bully" per se, but I was being a person who was making jokes about gay people. I wasn't harming anyone physically, but emotionally instead. My best friend who I thought who was straight was actually gay. This opened my eyes and I became a supportive person towards him. This took me years to get used to the idea that my best friend was gay. I wasn't going to cut him down, but rather I had to change my perspectives.

    To enforce this kind of issue, I believe, is that to have a zero tolerance policy just like what Alex has stated in his post. It is wrong to judge someone just by the way they are (sexual orientation). Everyone should have a say and not be afraid of their sexual orientation. I empathize towards these students because I have dealt with and experienced with the teasing of the LGBTQ community. Be firm and be assertive when it comes to these kinds of issues.

  4. My high school had a LGBTQ club and there were actually a pretty active group on campus. I haven't witnessed a lot of physical discrimination, but I'm sure it was there. I have seen first hand a lot of verbal insults and like Holly said, kids can be pretty nasty. That is sometimes an ignorance and maturity issue than anything. It doesn't excuse or justify poor behavior, but it just highlights the exact areas schools should focus on: exposure and information.

    From my observations, I don't find this to be a prevalent issue in both my placements, but that just makes me a little more suspicious. As racial issues are a bit hush, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be an LGBTQ student in Forest Grove. I also haven't experienced these issues with any of my students, but I have seen a few students around campus, which do not mask themselves.

    I'm with Alex and Holly on this. I, too, want to take advantage of my sexual orientation to bring awareness without bias. I also have experience with gay peers to increase my sensitivity and empathy toward this issue. I'm starting to think about things like, what it would be like to be as open-minded and (mildly) competent on these issues in a conservative and intolerant school setting. Bottom line is, like most teachers, I want my classroom to be a safe place. I cannot always control the school setting or town (though I will persist to try) like any other issue, but I can make a model of my classroom. It's all about being open, unafraid to have difficult discussion, and a positive attitude--not focus on the things that you can't change, but the things that you can.

  5. At my high school placement I have seen the Safe Space signs outside of many of the classrooms and I have not seen or heard of any harassment issues, but like everyone has said I feel pretty sheltered about the subject. There is a lot that goes on with students that you don't hear or know about and this could in fact be a big issue without me even knowing. I do hear the "that's gay" a lot not just in both my placements, but in college as well. I think being in this program has made me a bit more sensitive to the subject due to the diversity training we are going through and the fact that (like Kellie) I too have gay peers. However, to my shame I have yet to stop this behavior or say anything to deter comments like this. I am still trying to find the best way to tackle my own fear of speaking up, in order to defend others. Eventually (soon) I want to be that teacher that all kids feel safe talking to so that maybe others can follow my example.

  6. At my middle school placement I routinely hear students call other students gay as a put down and I tell them to stop it right away. At my high school placement, there are some gay students in one of my classes and I haven't seen any sort of discrimination against them.
    I remember hearing lots of students say derogatory remarks against LGBTQ students in high school even though I'm from a very "liberal" city. There was a gay-straight alliance but I can't recall it being a big presence, then the clubs at my school never really met at all.
    Although I have a lot of friends who are LGBTQ, I think that there are still a lot of people who discriminate against them and have at a lot of progress to make in that sphere. I think that the number of peers who we will have who are LGBTQ will only rise and their visibility should be embraced within the school atmosphere.
    I will always provide a safe space for LGBTQ students and stand up for their rights as I am a big proponent and supporter of LGBTQ rights. I will stand up for students whenever they need me to.

  7. When I think back to high school, I remember a lot of support for the Gay-Straight-Alliance and there were "Safe Zone" posters up in almost every classroom. There was a large effort against saying "gay" or other words being used as put downs. I knew a set of siblings, a boy and a girl, who each chose to dress as the opposite gender. The girl wasn't made fun of and people just thought she liked short hair and wearing cargo pants with mens shirts. Her brother faced a lot more discrimination though since he chose to wear dresses and skirts on a regular basis. The administration tried to say that this was a violation of dress code in an effort to force him to stop. Instead, the GSA and a good portion of the student body stood up for him and the school had to change their policy instead.

    I see a similar sentiment at my high school placement. The teachers wear rainbow ribbons and there are safe zone posters in almost every room, if not every room. There is a lot of support.

    I am not sure that this is the same at my middle school placement. I haven't seen a poster and there is no GSA that I know of. In middle school there doesn't seem to be a lot of LGBTQ students who acknowledge this and have "come out" to their peers. This seems to me like it would be even more important to advertise support with this age, as some struggle through. As a student teacher, I wonder about putting a sign up and the feedback I would get. I honestly think that the most I would hear is confusion about what it means because it is not common there. I just want students to know that my classroom is a safe place.

  8. When I was in high school there was a really strong GSA program and safe zone posters were in most every classroom. There was a gig push to enforce the anti-hate speech against every one. There were several gay students and along with some bullying, but there was a strong support system for students in the form of the GSA and safe zones, that worked with the entire school as community to educate about these issues.

    My high school placement is the same school that I attended, and the community is still their.

    There is not much of a overt support system at my middle school. I think this is due to age and there not being many student that have "come out". However I think it would be beneficial if there was an education program of some sort to prepare students for what they will encounter later.