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Supporting LGBTQ Students as their Authentic Selves

Sabia Prescott — New America

LGBTQ students face myriad challenges in the classroom that result in poor social, academic, and mental health outcomes. They often don’t feel safe in schools, they don’t see themselves reflected in the classroom or the curriculum, and most attend schools with discriminatory practices and policies. Teachers can play a big role in disrupting—or maintaining—these outcomes, from how they engage with students, to the language they use, to the types of content they curate. This session will explore various tools, knowledge, and resources to help educators better support and engage with LGBTQ students so they can be their authentic selves.

The goals of this conversation are to identify (1) the biggest challenges that educators face in supporting and engaging with queer students, and (2) the resources available to address these challenges. The conversation will offer participants an opportunity to reflect on their own teaching, identities, and comfort around talking about gender and sexual identities. It will provide space for honest questions and myth debunking. Finally, it will present teacher-and student-facing resources and materials for both continuing this work, and for use in the classroom. This conversation is designed for those both new to this topic and those who’ve previously engaged with it.

Conversational Practice

This session will be arranged like a workshop; only the brief introduction and framing will be presentation-style. The remainder of the session will pose questions and challenges, asking participants to reflect on their own experiences and participate in small- and whole-group conversations. Over the course of the conversations, I will ask participants to keep track of resources, books, and other materials that come up in conversation in a google doc that I’ll share at the start. This, combined with the resources that I will share at the end, will result in a list that everyone will be able to take with them and use.

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