Do you remember when you first learned what the word ‘gay’ meant? Maybe you had a classmate with two mothers, maybe you saw it on TV, or maybe you heard it being used as an insult on the playground. It’s possible that your first encounter with the LGBTQ spectrum involved an open-minded and mediated conversation with adults, but it’s also possible that you had to discover it on your own and deduce meaning based on context, even if that context was an insult.
There is a pressing need to educate about the LGBTQ experience, through events and forums like this one, but also throughout childhood. It is our responsibility to teach children tolerance instead of prejudice. But who is responsible for this education? Should it be built into curricula or is it the role of the family and the parents to educate on this topic?
LGBTQ education is an uphill battle because of a lack of resources. And Tango Makes Three, a picture book about same-sex penguins mating and raising a baby (based on a true story of penguins at a zoo), is consistently one of the most banned books in the United States. It joins the ranks of the few books published about the LGBTQ experience for children, most of which are frequently banned in libraries and schools. The lack of accessibility to these teaching resources is hugely detrimental to LGBTQ education.
The importance of LGBTQ education in an open and accepting environment cannot be overstated. How can classrooms and families work together to teach children about the LGBTQ experience? How can we ensure that children—both LGBTQ and not—never have to learn about what ‘gay’ means from an insult on the playground?
Samantha Green, Marketing Manager, Wiley
MA candidate in Children’s Literature, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science
We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments on this post below. If you’re interested on reading scholarly content, made free this month only to support the continuation of conversations surrounding the LGBT Community.
Education and the Classroom
‘No Outsiders’: Moving beyond a discourse of tolerance to challenge heteronormativity in primary schools British Educational Research Journal
The declining significance of homohysteria for male students in three sixth forms in the south of England British Educational Research Journal
“You’re Wearing Kurt’s Necklace!” The Rhetorical Power of Glee in the Literacy Classroom Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
Moving Beyond the Inclusion of LGBT-Themed Literature in English Language Arts Classrooms: Interrogating Heteronormativity and Exploring Intersectionality Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
Telling our story: a narrative therapy approach to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with a learning disability identify and strengthen positive self-identity stories British Journal of Learning Disabilities
Special Issue: Lesbian and gay issues in art, design and media education International Journal of Art & Design Education
Queering High School Biology Textbooks Journal of Research in Science Teaching