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Being an educator comes with the responsibility to create space for respectful intellectual discourse, especially at the college level. To do this, it's important to make your classroom an inclusive environment. Below, I have suggested 5 ways you can do this by showing your allyship to the LGBTQ+ community. These tips don’t just apply to the classroom, however. They are also ways to support your LGBTQ+ colleagues to feel welcomed in your shared workplace. Do you have more ways to be a better ally? Feel free to share your own tips in the comment section at the bottom of the page!
- Add gender pronouns to introductions. On the first day of class, when everyone goes around introducing themselves and their majors or a “fun fact”, ask your students to share their pronouns if they feel comfortable.
- Try not to make assumptions. For example, when asking about someone’s marital status, try to use gender-neutral terms like “spouse” or “partner”. This creates a safer environment for LGBTQ+ folks to participate in casual workplace conversations and discuss some of their personal life if they so choose. Unsure of someone’s gender? Politely ask their preferred pronouns or refer to them using “they/them” pronouns (like I just did) until told otherwise.
- Add a bit of decoration. In your office, you can communicate your allyship with the LGBTQ+ community through posters or by displaying the rainbow flag. Whether big or small, on your door or on your desk, you can signal that your office is an inclusive environment for anyone who walks in.
- Add your pronouns to your email signature! So simple, yet effective because it shows you care. Not sure how to do this? Here is a link to some instructions: https://medium.com/@cornellgsgic/a-guide-to-adding-your-pronouns-to-5-tools-you-use-every-day-b67c92...
- Include queer history within your courses. LGBTQ+ folks have been present in more than just civil rights. They’ve been scientists, writers, artists, mathematicians, and more. I encourage you to find them within your historical topics of interest. Here are some tools to help you get started:
- Alphabetical list of LGBTQ+ Historical Figures: https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/publications/best-practices-for-serving-lgbtq-students/a...
- “Author’s with Ignored Queer History” by Northeastern University: https://litdigitaldiversity.northeastern.edu/the-ignorance-of-an-identity-authors-with-ignored-queer...
- “LGBTQ Rights Timeline in American History”: https://www.lgbtqhistory.org/lgbt-rights-timeline-in-american-history/
- LGBTQ+ Articles from History.com: https://www.history.com/tag/lgbt-history
- LGBTQ History Timeline Reference Sheet: https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/LGBTQ-History-Timeline-References.pdf
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