Queer education specifically refers to a set of topics that relate to LGBTQ+ people in some way. Let’s take a look at two areas in which our education practices can become more inclusive of queer identities: Social Sciences and Health.
In the social sciences, LGBTQ+ Education can refer history or sociological study. In the context of history, queer education can refer to the role and contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans. For example, when students learn about Sally Ride, the first US woman in space, they’ll also learn about her partner of 27 years, Tam Shaugnessey. LGBTQ+ Americans have played an important role in the development of our country and teaching students about these individuals can have a positive effect.
According to Rick Zbur of Equality CA, “An LGBT-inclusive curriculum helps create an environment where all students can thrive. And by seeing themselves reflected in lessons and materials, students’ experiences are validated and their sense of self-worth reinforced, creating the opportunity for students to be able to achieve academically.”
Social Science is an incredibly broad area of study and LGBTQ+ identities can be discussed outside of a historical context. For example, when students are introduced to concepts of family diversity, such as parents with disabilities or families of mixed race, they should also be exposed to the idea that some families may have same-sex parents. Introducing students to various family arrangements can prepare them for when they are exposed to these situations in real life. Additionally, it can also validate the experiences of students that live in a home with same-sex parents. At its core, inclusive education practices are intended to accommodate the great range of identities and experiences of our students. Check out the QEDU Queer History presentation!
Queer education can mean different things depending on the subject. In the context of health classes, queer education can refer to providing students with sexual health information that is inclusive of queer identities. For students who are cisgender and heterosexual, this information can allow them to have a better understanding of concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation. Conversely, this information can validate the experiences of queer youth and offer them useful insight into their own identity. While most students will identify as cisgender or heterosexual, that’s not true for everyone. The education we provide to students should accommodate for these differences. Understanding how attraction works and the various combinations that exist for healthy adult relationships will prepare students to make more informed decisions about their own relationships.
Additionally, when queer youth do not receive inclusive information about sexual health, they are unable to make safe decisions regarding their sexual practices. QEDU seeks to engage students, faculty, and parents in sexual health education to ensure that the information our audiences receive is medically accurate, up-to-date, and queer inclusive. Check out our Queer Identity or Queer Health presentation for more information.