LGBT education is a year-long process for these teachers
Some LGBTQ-identified teachers celebrate LGBTQ history and contributions in the classroom as part of an ongoing process, rather than a once-a-year – during Pride Month.
According to Rebecca Mui, an education manager at GLSEN, celebrating Pride Month is important — but it can’t be the only time LGBTQ identities come up.
She says, “I think that Pride and the history of Pride is something that all educators should be bringing into their classrooms. The more LGBTQ visibility present in classrooms, the better.”
“I actually feel like we celebrate Pride during the whole school year,” says Ana Patejdl, a New York City high school public school teacher.
Patejdl, who identifies as gay, has been teaching for 11 years, but wasn’t out to her students until three years ago, when the principal at her school encouraged her to revive the Gay-Straight Alliance.
At that point, she said, she was out to everyone in her life except her students. “I didn’t hide it but I didn’t put it out there for discussion either,” Patejdl said.
“Whenever we’re reading non-fiction or working on informational writing or argument skills, which is usually tied to social issues, I try to give kids choice around the topics they pursue and LGBTQ issues are usually among the ones they’re interested in,” Patejdl said.
Nathan Cooke, a ninth grade teacher at a California public school, also said he incorporates LGBTQ history throughout the year instead of focusing on it in June.
Cooke, who is out as bisexual to his students and brings his fiancé to school events, finds LGBTQ history comes up frequently “through organic discussions” in the classroom. “There aren’t specific lessons that center on LGBTQ history,” Cooke said, “but I allow breathing room for natural tangents to arise.”