Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools: A Text for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators

Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools: A Text for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators

Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools: A Text for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators

Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools: A Text for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators

Synopsis

Understanding Homosexuality, written by veteran teacher & university instructor Arthur Lipkin, provides a foundation in gay/lesbian studies & offers models for equity, inclusion, & school reform. It is designed to help teachers, administrators, counselors, & policymakers understand the significance of gay & lesbian issues in education; to aid communication between students & their families; & to facilitate the integration of gay & lesbian families into the school community. This book is also designed to promote the psychological health & development of all students by reducing bigotry, self-hatred, & violence. Bringing together eleven topics related to homosexuality & education, Understanding Homosexuality makes the gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transgender experience part of a democratic multicultural vision.

Excerpt

Gay and lesbian visibility increased incrementally from the start of the gay liberation movement in 1969 through the early 1980s. Then, in the next fifteen years, the AIDS epidemic and civil rights battles pulled homosexuality dramatically into the public sphere. Commentators in the popular media regularly debate gay soldiers' sleeping arrangements, the "gay gene," "outing," "gay marriage," domestic partner benefits, "conversion therapy," and so on.

There are probably few over the age of toddlers who have not been exposed to public arguments about homosexuality and government policy toward gays and lesbians. Regrettably, many students have heard the sound bites and acrimony but have missed exploring these questions seriously in an academic setting -- an omission with harmful, even violent, consequences.

Biological and philosophical theories about homosexuality are rife at some universities, along with discourses in gay-related law and politics, history, and culture, although original research is conducted by relatively few professors and graduate students, many of them gay or lesbian themselves. These topics are trickling down to undergraduate courses on some campuses, particularly in the context of women's studies. New histories and anthologies may stimulate wider interest.

Gay/lesbian studies came to the academy too late, however, for most veteran elementary and secondary school practitioners. Without in-service training, they are generally unprepared for classroom engagement when the opportunity to discuss homosexuality arises, as it regularly does. Both the political risk and their lack of preparation lead them to avoid the subject. Even in those schools where faculty intervene to stop homophobic harassment, exploration of the topic is likely to be superficial -- that is, a brief refutation of common "myths and stereotypes" or a guest speaker's thirty-minute show and tell.

Prospective teachers are lucky to encounter that much in college and graduate teacher preparation courses. Professors may be inattentive to current research and unaware of the subject's importance in education. They may be politically fearful or lack the pedagogy to deal with gay . . .

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