[If I were bullied at school] I wouldn’t tell anyone else about it because I don’t think my teachers/parents would be any more accepting of my sexuality than the harasser. – Adam
Teachers need to step up! By making sure that this type of hate language—or all hate language!—isn’t accepted in the classroom. – Annie
I have been to so many schools . . . I don’t know why, I just keep moving. I guess I was looking for someplace I would feel right. Not feel bad, freaked out. And someplace where the teachers would appreciate me. – Marcela
I feel the school tries to not address the elephant in the room, but this year has been revolutionary. The kids have taken the gay rights movement into their own hands. – Eddie
Did you know?
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In a school of 1,000 students, up to 100 will be gay, lesbian, or bisexual; 10 will be transgender; and 1 will be intersex (biologically neither male nor female). If their lives are average, 87 of them will be verbally harassed, 40 of them will be physically harassed, and 19 will be physically assaulted in the next year, because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Sixty-two will feel mostly unsafe going to school. Thirty will harm themselves in what may be suicide attempts.
What LBGT youth have to say
Queer Youth Advice for Educators: How to Respect and Protect Your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students is a unique resource that brings the voices of queer youth to the educator's table.
Youth from around the U.S. detail how they are treated in the classroom and the schoolyard, and describe the concrete strategies educators can use to help them stay safe.
Commissioned by WKCD, poet and author Abe Louise Young spent six months traveling the country and talking to LGBT youth about what they need in the classroom. Her gifts as a gentle interviewer and compassionate listener is what makes this short book so special.
The youth make clear that it’s not being LGBT that causes the problems. The problems are the outcome of intolerant actions and speech by peers, parents, teachers, clergy, and strangers. Bullying is a symptom of the culture.
Using the insights of youth, educators can learn how to address this culture of discrimination in everyday teachable moments.
How educators can help
This compilation of urgent youth voices is a critical reminder that sometimes the most important thing an adult ally can do is listen.
Eliza Byard, Executive Director, GLSEN
What adult behaviors have helped LGBT youth maintain their safety and self esteem? How do teachers help them to grow, or threaten their learning? How can we learn from the bullying experiences they've endured?
Queer Youth Advice for Educators offers concrete tips for adults who are ready to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth with a supportive and equitable learning environment.
At a time of heightened public attention to the scourge of bullying, the experiences of LGBT youth in many schools—“high performing” or not—provide heartbreaking reminders that they especially need our support.
By educating ourselves and being allies to queer youth, we can help keep those 111 in every thousand students alive and thriving. The other 899 will benefit in wonderful ways from an inclusive, nonviolent school climate.
Please join us in listening, learning, and acting together.
DOWNLOAD PDF (42 pp.)
ORDER HARD COPY ($9.95, including free shipping and donation to support WKCD's ongoing efforts to gather youth voices on tough issues)
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Praise for Queer Youth Advice for Educators
A rich, important, and powerful work, in which students teach us about their experiences and their wishes for safe, respectful and civil schools. I hope every K–12 educator reads and reflects on this wonderful book.
Jonathan Cohen, President, National School Climate Center
In this essential book, LGBTQ youth tell us about peer and adult actions that hurt them—and, even more important, about peer and adult actions that have helped them live good lives.
Stan Davis, author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs
This eye-opening guide reveals a national crisis in school climate. The powerful voices of students describe more than bullying—they show a whole-school issue that must be addressed sensitively by every educator. Queer Youth Advice for Educators is a great resource for school counselors and all adults in a school building.
Kwok-Sze Wong, American School Counselor Association
A must read for every parent, educator, and youth worker who wants to create safe harbor for all young people—a place where kids can honor the uniqueness of themselves and others as well as celebrate our common humanity. The wisdom and deep caring of the youth in this book will humble and hopefully embolden us to stand up for our kids and speak out against any injustice.
Barbara Coloroso, author, The Bully, The Bullied, and the Bystander
All of us at Soulforce, home of the Equality Ride, want to commend the body of work and commitment represented by the young people involved in the development of this resource. They are helping record and, indeed, rewrite a chapter of history in the United States in which cruelty has been sanctioned in our schools and affirmed by many of our churches. The author and participants in the creation of this text have asked themselves the question that all of us should ask of ourselves, "So what do we do? Ignore or go along?" Both routes lead to damage of the hearts and minds of the young people who are hurt by bullying and those who are complicit in that harm. Queer Youth Advice for Educators offers a third option. It identifies the source of our cultural discomfort, describes methods of dealing with that discomfort and ways to transform ourselves in a way that supports young people in learning communities as well as those who dedicate themselves to the teaching profession. Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director, Soulforce, Inc.
This is an intelligent and useful resource for teachers. The book provides insight into the thoughts and feelings of students whose voices are too rarely heard.
Rosetta Marantz Cohen, professor of Education and Child Study, Smith College
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Writer and educator Abe Louise Young was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1976. Her special focus is helping young people take action for social change through the written word. She has spent half her life teaching writing and organizing communities. She is the editor of Hip Deep: Opinion, Essays, and Vision from American Teenagers (Next Generation Press), and author of numerous articles and poems. Please visit her at www.abelouiseyoung.com.
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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”
– Deborah Meier, educator