On the Lives and Education of Children
Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio
Chapter Seventeen: Acknowledging and Validating LGBT Identities: Toward a Pedagogy of Compassion
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Acknowledging AND Validating LGBT Identities
Toward a Pedagogy of Compassion
A. SCOTT HENDERSON
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, including children and youth, have been targets of violence, hated, and disrespect. Historically, state actors and institutions in the United States have either ignored or tacitly condoned such behavior. However, beginning in the late 1980s, school officials and educators began to address the need to provide a safe environment for students who self-identify as LGBT (Grayson, 1987; Kim, 2009; Uribe & Harbeck, 1992). Subsequently, several states have passed broad anti-bullying laws that cover LGBT students, and an increasing number of schools, particularly high schools, now sponsor gay-straight alliances (Lund & Carr, 2008; Miller & Gilligan, 2013). Teachers are also increasingly aware of the need to incorporate curricular materials that validate the contributions of LGBT individuals who have either been ignored or “de-gayed” (Garden, 2007; Jennings, 1994; Rofes, 1989).
This chapter focuses on three related areas:
1. Pedagogical strategies that offer students the opportunity to explore content-based materials that affirm and/or validate LGBT identities. Within this section, emphasis will be placed on the rise of gay teen fiction as a genre that English/language-arts teachers can incorporate into their curricula.
2. Attempts to mandate the instruction of LGBT perspectives to all students. Discussion will center on the 2011 passage of California’s FAIR Education Act, which compels inclusion of political, economic, and...
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