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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Addressing Homophobia in Schools...

Addressing Homophobia in Schools...

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Hi Everyone, I am a college professor and my research deals with addressing homophobia in schools. I have a book coming out in Nov. (see profile if you want) but, I am curious to know how do teachers address homophobia, if at all? Any thoughts?

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Eve Rifkin's picture

I'm a co-founder and principal of a small school. The best things I've done to combat homophobia at my school is:
1. Come out to my students. They know I'm gay and they respect me.
2. Start a Gay-Straight alliance.
3. Regard hate speech (including the use of "gay" and "fag") an extreme offense potentially punishable by suspension (if the offending student doesn't change behavior after a serious conversation).

kat's picture

As a teacher I feel there needs to be a divide and students should not know of my sexual preference. I teach my students about bullying and respecting others personal choices and preferences. I am offended that a teacher or better yet a principal would disclose thier private lives to the student body!

Kari Ramirez's picture

I am not at all offended that a teacher/administrator would disclose their sexual preference. I am a married (to a man) with three children and I am not afraid to tell my students. Is that not disclosing my sexual preference???? With the recent bullying issues in our country, I feel these students need to know they are not alone. They need to understand they are not wrong for feeling the way they do. For years, students have had to hide who they are and feel ashamed. Making them feel accepted is important. Our school has a "Spark" club that honors people of all sexual orientations. All are welcome. It is not just for homosexuals or heterosexuals; they do not judge. Wouldn't it be nice if we were all that way.

Eve Rifkin's picture

Kat,
sorry to have offended you. It wasn't my intention to do so, although when dealing with the seriousness of youth committing suicide because they feel marginalized and isolated, offending people who read my comments is not exactly of primary concern to me right now.

However, to be clear, I do not talk about my private life with my students. When I refer to my "partner" or say something like "my partner really likes her job as a publisher" or some other mundane comment that includes reference to my family, I am sharing information about who I am. My kids are no dummies--they do the math and assume that my partner is a woman, which she is, which makes me gay.

Straight folks are not accused of being too loose with their boundaries when they come to school and say "my husband and I went to Greece this summer" or "my wife is expecting a baby next month" are they?

-Eve

Bill Fitzgerald's picture
Bill Fitzgerald
Open Source Geek. Educator, Web developer.

Hello, Eve,

You have nothing to apologize for.

We need people in leadership positions to take a stand and be very clear that bullying is not okay - thank you for doing that. Being gay or straight is not a "private detail" and until we dispel the myths that say otherwise we will continue to have a lot of work to do.

Families and love come in all shapes and forms. Let's celebrate the love and acceptance that brings people together.

Cheers,

Bill

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