A five step #PrideMonth challenge for Educators

One resource I find myself coming back to again and again is this provocative piece via Medium. The author is honest and thoughtful in his discussion on Twitter as a mean to engage with ‘other’:

In a serendipitous moment, content strategy expert Karen McGrane posted a link to a series of 26 tweets by Marco Rogers. In a few hundred words, Rogers had outlined four steps that he recommends (and has used himself) to use Twitter as a way to understand viewpoints that diverge from your own. Suddenly it clicked, and it felt like it should have been obvious all along. In order to resolve the dissonance, I needed to be able to accurately evaluate this new information, and that meant really listening to these diverse voices with an open mind.

In the spirit of #PrideMonth, it is wonderful to see initiatives like #500QueerScientists light up Twitter and Instagram.

@CAS_Arachnology  reflects on the story of the hashtag in this article:

I still “come out” every other week to colleagues, and I am often reluctant to speak about my personal life when working in the field or at scientific conferences. That’s why I started this project. I want LGBTQ+ STEM workers to come out of the shadows of the heteronormative culture in science, to see each other, and to be seen by the world for the STEM accomplishments we have made and advances we have driven forward.

One project I’ve been so thrilled to celebrate recently is the great work from   and  on behalf of .  Their launch this month comes at a critical time for queer teachers and students around the world.  It isn’t uncommon for someone to tell me they are so amazed by the progress and support for the LGBTQ community….but I think this optimism is a touch misguided.  In an opinion piece in The New York Times this year, we are reminded that:

“…support for L.G.B.T.Q. people has dropped, in all seven areas that the survey measured. They include “having an L.G.B.T. person at my place of worship” (24 percent of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable), seeing a same-sex couple holding hands (31 percent are uncomfortable) and “learning my child has an L.G.B.T. teacher at school” (37 percent are uncomfortable).

If you work in education, here’s my 5-point #PrideMonth challenge for you to take if you want to be a better ally and mentor for all students:

  1. How diverse is your social media feed? Could you follow and support more LGBTQ activists? (start here)
  2. When is the last time you referenced or played music in your classroom that included queer narratives? (start here) “Fletcher also wants to shift the way queer couples are portrayed in media. “Too often LGBTQ characters’ love stories are depicted as a tragedy or rejection,” Fletcher says. “Yes, it’s important to recognize the struggles the LGBTQ community faces, but I didn’t want to focus on that struggle.”  When is the last time you referenced an athlete from the LGBTQ community? (start here)
  3. Do teens have access to coming out fiction at your school? Is it labeled as ‘queer fiction,’ or is it included with the general collection and folded into the ‘mainstream’? (learn more about why this matters here)
  4.  Question the queer narratives you support: are they what we need them to be in 2018? Start a debate, unpack why some queer narratives are more popular than others, this is a good place to start.
  5. Have you considered what the future workplace for LGBTQ student might feel like? Check out this episode of Nancy to gain perspective: