Educating queerly refers to providing an education where heteronormativity is deconstructed and the binary identities reproduced by society are questioned. Essentially, getting people to understand and accept that there is more than just male/female, straight/gay, and masculine/feminine. By disrupting heteronormativity we can create a society more inclusive of multiple identities.
The following is a list of five steps to start the conversation on what it means to educate queerly!
1. Refrain from presuming all students are heterosexual.
For example, conversations as minute as asking a young boy if he has a girlfriend perpetuate heteronormativity.
2. Have conversations with coworkers, family and friends.
If you hear them perpetuating heteronormativity, ex. “I noticed (incident),” then ask them “what might the impact be on an LGBTQ student?” Become a champion for LGBTQ equality by asking the tough questions.
3. Include a LGBTQ people in your curriculum in multiple forms.
All students deserve to see themselves reflected in classrooms. Be weary of the impact of only including the victim narrative, and make sure to include LGBTQ people from ALL backgrounds.
4. Start conversations at your school about LGBTQ events. Recognize Day of Silence and National Coming Out Day. It is incredibly impactful for LGBTQ allies to start these conversations. It sends the message that not only LGBTQ people should be invested in equality, but all people regardless of gender and sexual orientation should recognize the human rights of all individuals and fight heteronormativity.
5. Continue to seek resources and learn more about LGBTQ people.
Queer students and educators need allies. The more that everyone makes it a mission to fight heteronormativity, the safer schools will be for all individuals.
What are other ideas you have to educate queerly and make all spaces more inclusive?