June is recognized as Pride Month to celebrate and honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots, one of many historical events which uprose in response to police harassment and persecution facing the LGBTQ+ community. These historical events were primarily led by Black trans women and mark the beginning of a movement to dissolve discriminatory laws and practices that against LGBTQ+ folks. June is now a time for celebration, memorialization, and continued protest action to recognize the impact of historical LGBTQ+ community members and events and to continue improving the cultural understanding of the community. Throughout 2021 we have seen an enormous amount of anti-trans violence and legislation in America, and the LGBTQ+ community deserves continued action and outspokenness from allies and supporters not only during June, but year-round.
Every educator can take steps toward making their classroom a more inclusive, welcoming space for LGBTQ students, and June is the perfect time to think about making some adjustments to your practices for the fall semester. Here are some resources to get started:
- Practice inclusive language. Here’s a guide from GLSEN on adjusting your language to support transgender and gender nonconforming students in the classroom.
- Queer your syllabi. Having the opportunity to read about LGBTQ history and theory from writers within the community not only helps LGBTQ students see themselves reflected in the academic tradition, it gives all students a more comprehensive view of the perspectives and historic struggles within your discipline. Queer theorists and queer criticism can be factored into a wide variety of topics; here are a few sample syllabi that other educators have generously made available online for your reference.
- Do your own reading. Many instructors don’t feel comfortable covering LGBTQ issues because it wasn’t part of their own education, but it’s not too late to start studying. Here’s a great list of queer theory texts.
- Learn from LGBTQ+ leaders and community members by hearing their stories. Understanding and uplifting the first-hand experiences of people in the LGBTQ+ community is an excellent way to show support and to learn more.
- Get involved with LGBTQ+ community and volunteer groups in your city.
- The Center has been a home and resource hub for the LGBTQ community, NYC residents, and visitors since 1983. They currently host several virtual groups daily for LGBTQ+ support, and are set to re-open their vitally important in-person facilities, (including their archive, gathering spaces, and career services, and recovery center) in the fall of 2021.
- The Ali Forney Center provides food and housing to LGBTQ+ youth in need of support. They have many long term volunteer opportunities and programs which accept donations of clothing and food.
- Reclaim Pride Coalition seeks to examine corporate Pride events and revive community-based protest action during Pride Month and year-round.
- TransLifeLine is a center for virtual peer support and community care, run by and for trans folks.
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