One year, I decided to take a hard look at my curriculum and increase LGBTQ+ representation. There was LGBTQ+ erasure going on at my school and I decided my classroom would be a safe space for my LGBTQ+ students to feel seen in a school that did not see them, and also for my straight and cis students to engage or just listen in. Obviously, you don’t just declare a classroom “safe”, your curriculum must reflect your intent.
CREATING Story characters
In level 1, when my students and I co-created characters, I got into the habit of asking “What kind of family does s/he have?” How many fathers?” “How many mothers?”, and this is how Pixar the lamp was created. He is an adorable little lamp with two fathers.
TALKING ABOUT FAMILIES
CELEBRATING A VARIETY OF IDENTITIES
With all my levels, we talked about Bilal Hassani, a young queer singer, who represented France at the Eurovision music contest last year. We read about the homophobia directed toward him and how he chose to embrace his identity. My students absolutely adored his song “Roi” and we followed his journey through the contest. Here is the Lesson Plan.
PROVIDING LGBTQ+ READING CHOICES
Last year, I did not have any LGBTQ language readers in my library but thanks to three wonderful independant authors*, I will now be able to also provide more choice during Sustained Silent Reading time:
There is also the fabulous book “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier, available in Spanish and French:
* Disclaimer: if you choose to purchase any of these books through the links I provided, Amazon gives me a 4.5% commission. This commission is not taken from you nor from the authors’ royalties. These books are also available in Spanish.
11/9/2020 update: USE OF PRONOUNS
This school year, I am also introducing the use of the gender neutral pronoun “iel” with my Novice learners via the creation of class characters. This came about naturally when my students created a tiny purple cow called Pablo, and kept asking: “but is it a male or a female?” I simply told them we did not have to choose and Pablo could be “iel”:
There are so many more ways to increase LGBTQ+ representation; my work is far from being done.
If you have resources you use in your classrooms, please do share in the comments, as I want to keep growing in this area and keep adding to my curriculum. Thanks in advance!