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Your help Feb. 19th, 2006 @ 08:46 pm

I’m not really sure how to start this. My Mom has been an elementary school teacher for nearly 30 years (public and private, special ed and regular classroom, inner city and suburban), and although I don’t think I could handle the stresses of being an educator, I’ve always held teachers in high esteem.

Also, I apologize if this sort of post isn’t allowed. As it is cross-posted in a variety of teaching communities, the major content is behind a cut.

I’d appreciate your helpCollapse )

I’d appreciate your help, if you’re willing. I have a feeling many of you would take away from being a member, and your future (or current) students may benefit from your open mind. If you have any questions, please let me know. And again, I apologize if this sort of post isn’t allowed, although I do believe it fits within the scope of this community.


Founder & Maintainer, gsa_lj

Brent Hartinger's 'Geography Club': a ban and its outcome Dec. 19th, 2005 @ 10:00 pm
Some people here may have been following this story already, but I thought that people in this community would be interested in the recent challenge faced by Brent Hartinger over his book 'Geography Club'.

A school district in Washington State ordered that the book be banned from school libraries, ostensibly because it 'promotes' dangerous activities in its portrayal of teens who drink and use online chatrooms. In fact, it is clear that the gay content in the book is the real issue here. After a good deal of debate and argument, the school board has partially reversed its decision. The book has been returned to the high school library, but not the junior high.

It's great news that the novel has been partially vindicated, but I think the whole saga shows that there is still a long way to go when thinking about attitudes towards censorship. I don't think any of the criticisms levelled at the novel justify banning the book. I'm particularly shocked that the high school librarian of the school concerned was apparently in favour of banning the book. As a school librarian myself, I consider it essential that I give my students access to a wide a range of reading materials as possible. I want them to be able to read books which reflect their real lives - and that means books which include drinking, sex, drug taking, internet use and yes - gasp - gay characters.

Raise a glass to all those who spoke out aqainst this ban - and one to those happy couples celebrating the first civil partnerships in Britain.

X-posted to queerfiction
Current Mood: chipperchipper

Pride & Body Art in the Classroom Dec. 16th, 2005 @ 07:34 pm
So I'm thinking about getting another tat...

I got my first when I was 20, after planning it for about 4 years, and now at 24, I've completed another cycle of planning, and I'm ready to make the appointment for a second tattoo.

Why am I bothering to post it here, you ask?Collapse )

Someday, I may choose to live my live in ankle skirts and knee socks. Today, however, is not that day.
Current Mood: intimidatedundecided

Youth advocacy questions Nov. 28th, 2005 @ 02:02 pm
Does anyone know of any well-reputed LGBT youth advocacy organizations, camps and/or schools? I'm sort of casually looking into exploring more about this high-need area of activism and I'm having trouble coming up with reliable information. How does one get involved in this sort of thing (other than starting up a GSA, I mean)?


LGBT youth opportunity Oct. 22nd, 2005 @ 03:05 pm

This was posted on queerinterfaith and I thought I'd pass it along:

Out LGBT Youth Needed for Documentary

World of Wonder is seeking out LGBT youth, ages 16 and younger, and their
families for a new documentary about their lives and experiences.

The documentary is being developed by World of Wonder Productions which
is an award-winning, gay-owned production company which has a long
history of producing acclaimed gay themed documentaries including
School’s Out, an MTV True Life documentary on a gay high school in
Dallas, Texas, Gay Republicans, The Eyes of Tammy Faye and
TransGeneration which focuses on transgender college students and is
now airing on the Sundance Channel.

For more information, please contact:
Chris McKim
World of Wonder Productions

Current Mood: contentcontent

New Aug. 5th, 2005 @ 05:14 pm
Hello, I just thought I would introduce myself. I'm a new Student Paraprofessional in Ohio. I am also a closeted lesbian in a long-term relationship. This is my first experience EVER teaching and I'm teaching and I'm helping out with students with Emotional and Learning Disablities. I'm going to need a lot of help and advice so feel free to stop by my journal and comment.

x-posted e'rywhere :-)
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Paul Van Dyk

May. 18th, 2005 @ 05:52 pm
Hi, remember me?

In the course of compiling my list of LGBT themed books for young adults - with which the good people of this community kindly helped me - I noticed that there seems to be a dearth of gay books written by British authors or originally published in Britain. In fact, the only book I could think of that deals specifically with a gay relationship (rather than including it as a subplot) is Aidan Chambers' 'Dance On My Grave'. I was fairly surprised by this, since in Britain we tend to think of ourselves as a more tolerant society (this may be grossly inaccurate, and is certainly skewed seeing as it's not really possible to generalise about the whole USA).

Obviously we're a smaller country, and so it stands to reason that there should be less books over all, but my list of American LGBT books goes on and on. I'm really curious as to why this should be . Do you think that the UK is less tolerant, or that the UK publishing industry shys away from publishing books on this subject? Or is it the other way round - the gay community in America feels more need to fight for equality, and so more people are inspired to write about it. Is the difference also present in adult literature?

Obviously all big questions, but I'd be very interested to hear your theories on this.


X-posted to various communities
Current Mood: curiouscurious

Praxis II, Secondary English content, anyone? May. 12th, 2005 @ 09:52 pm
I have two unmarked Praxis II study guide books (content area and lesson plans/essays) purchased from ETS. They were VERY helpful, but since I passed the test, I don't need them any more. They cost $60 from the site, I'll sell them for $30 for both.

Unmarked, excellent condition, just tell me where to ship them. I even have a Paypal account to make it a dreamy, easy transaction.

If you or anyone you know is interested, tell them about 'em! These two lovely books were nurtured in a 100% queer household ;-) (just to make sure this x-posted post is on topic!)

You can email me at kjmarcotte at gmail dot com for more info.

Got 30-60 seconds? May. 11th, 2005 @ 07:05 pm
Please go here:


and vote your conscience.


Day of Silence May. 11th, 2005 @ 07:05 pm
Today I ran the Day of Silence at our school. It went brilliantly! For anyone who doesn't know, the basic idea is that people pledge to remain silent for a day (or part of one) in order to show solidarity with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people whose voices are silenced by prejudice. The silence raises awareness and is an alternative way of 'speaking out' against prejudice.

I first found out about the 'Day of Silence' when I was looking for LGBT booklists for a display and wondered whether there were any events which I could tie it in with. It originally started in America as a student gay-straight alliance initiative. It was first run in the UK last year, in the South West only, and the charity who promoted it wanted to extend it to other areas of the country this time around. I was initally very unsure about running it, because it's traditionally been something which came from the student body and I didn't know how it would work as a school-led initiative. I was also nervous about how the school might react, since it might potentially open them to a lot of criticism from parents. For this reason my first step was to sound the idea out with the Head of Welfare at the school. Happily, she was very supportive of the idea and gave me the go-ahead with it. She also supplied me with a couple of posters giving a helpline number for people suffering from homophobic bullying. I decided not to promote the event in a very agressive way and just put up a few posters around the school detailing the basic idea and giving my name as the person to contact if students were interested. I left it until last Friday to put the posters up, partly because we were running a mock election at school which involved quite a lot of publicity, and partly because I didn't want students to register that the event was ages away and then forget about it. I didn't really expect a huge response from the students but in fact some people came to see me within 2 hours of the posters going up.

By yesterday about 8 students had pledged to get involved and I was starting to feel nervous. One sixth-form student had commented on the posters and asked 'don't you think that's promoting homosexuality, Miss?'. He went on to make some comments about how 'unnatural' homosexuality is. Although his comments were partly motivated by a desire to be devil's advocate (he regularly engages in debates with me and my colleague and likes to get a rise from us as he is very right-wing and we are left) I was still pretty shocked. Gay members of this forum will no doubt smile at my naivety, but I really hadn't expected that kind of rhetoric from someone his age in the UK. I have been cloistered in academia for most of the last five years and had grown accustomed to a prevailing assumption that it is unacceptable to voice such sentiments even if you feel them. It was a bit of a shock to realise that such extreme attitudes are still alive and well among certain sections of society. I started to wonder how prevalent this attitude was and whether I might be opening the students involved to a lot of bullying, but decided I'd have to cross that bridge when I came to it. In the event, that wasn't a big problem.

This morning I mentioned 'Day of Silence' in our staff meeting and asked staff to be understanding if they had students in their lessons who were not speaking. The Intercom Trust - the charity running the event - had provided cards for students to show to explain their reasons for the silence (these can be found at their website). I also pledged to remain silent for parts of the day myself. Although the constraints of my job mean that I couldn't remain silent the whole day, I decided to pledge silence for breaktimes and the part of lunchtime when I was accompanied by another member of staff , and also one teaching period. I'm not sure whether some of the teachers spoke to their students about the Day, or whether students just spread the word, but I had a small flurry of students during the registration period asking to be involved. After this it just grew and grew. Students who noticed that people were remaining silent were curious and came to ask for more information - quite a few decided to join in. I think the fact that I was doing it myself meant that students noticed it more and took it more seriously. As the day progressed some people started to ask to do it just out of devilment, I think, since they realised it meant that they would not have to participate fully in lessons, but I was still happy to let them get involved. Even where their motives might have been a bit impure, they still ended up finding out about the issues involved and started to think a bit about prejudice. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me until too late to keep a record of how many students were actually participating, but I estimate that it was at least thirty and probably more who did it for part of the day.

The hardest thing about manintaining silence myself was the fact that I couldn't explain the rationale behind the day to people who asked. Obviously I had the cards to show people but it was very frustrating not being able to elaborate - lots of kids thought it must be a sponsored silence and asked if I wanted them to sponsor me. A few asked if I was a lesbian and questioned why straight people would want to do it. I have to confess it was probably easier for me in that I could honestly answer that I'm straight - it would have been a very nervewracking way to come out! I found it very heartening that even though I heard a bit of silliness and a few people reacted in an 'ugh!' sort of way when they understood that it was connected with homosexuality, they all ended up saying 'yeah, they're alright I suppose, who cares who they fancy?' Even though they've been conditioned to consider homosexuality as 'wrong' their rational response is acceptance. If there was any outright nastiness I didn't hear it - and quite a few kids mentioned that they wanted to get involved because they had gay friends or relatives. All in all, I'm very happy with the way it all went.

I feel very lucky at the moment as I reflect on how accepting an institution I work for. They were happy for me to promote this fairly political and potentially controversial event - and it was a success. My boss was also happy to allocate some funds for me to buy extra books for my display. This was especially necessary as there aren't very many gay ya novels by British writers, so I had to actually order books specially in order to make our stock more reflective of diverse lifestyles. For anyone who's interested my final display included the following:

The first eight of these I bought new for the display. I don't have time to write reviews of them all now, but if anyone is interested please comment and let me know which ones you want to hear more about.

All in all I'm feeling very satisfied with my work today :-)
(X-posted to my personal journal.)
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Ani di Franco - 'Educated Guess'
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