Reproductive Justice and Our Classrooms

There is no end-point in the fight for justice and equality, no moment when the argument is finally settled. As Angela Davis has said, “Freedom is a constant struggle.” Although that proposition seems exhausting, it is also hopeful. If our wins are never wholly secure, then neither must our losses be permanent. The struggle for reproductive justice continues, and our curriculum must nurture our students’ capacity to envision and participate in its next stages.

Protecting Trans Youth

The Right has declared war on trans youth. Recent headlines offer a sickening taste of what reactionary governors and state legislators have been cooking up in their laboratories of transphobic […]

Instructional Time

A transgender middle school teacher wrestles with a school and community that tries to hide their identity.

Queer Matters

While we were excited to support the opening of the educational closet

Do Ask, Do Tell

Two Chicago educators question the premier teacher education accrediting agency’s removal of social justice and sexual orientation language from its standards.

Heather’s Moms Got Married

Last spring, my second graders gathered on the rug, discussing the impending 50th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision. I asked how their lives would have […]

Teaching Them into Existence

A high school English teacher (also the QSA staff advisor) wrestles with the suicide of a transgender student and calls on heterosexual and cisgender teachers to integrate LGBTQ authors, themes, and history into their classrooms.

Welcome Poems Trump Hate

A teacher creates a welcome poems lesson to celebrate the diversity of students — and with students.

Queering Black History and Getting Free

A Black freedom organizer demands that teachers and activists radically change their frameworks around Black history by lifting up the stories of Black LGBTQ people like Marsha P. Johnson.

“What Kind Are You?”

A school librarian describes children’s books with strong transgender characters and themes.

#SchoolsToo: Educators’ Responsibility to Confront Sexual Violence

The ongoing, persistent verbal and physical violence against women, youth, and LGBTQ communities has not been adequately addressed in most schools. Instead of educating children and youth about gender equity and sexual harassment, schools often create a culture that perpetuates stigma, shame, and silence. Student-on-student sexual assault and harassment occurs on playgrounds, in bathrooms and locker rooms, on buses, and down isolated school hallways. Students experience sexualized language and inappropriate touching, as well as forced sexual acts. And they encounter these at formative stages of their lives that leave scars and shape expectations for a lifetime. What isn’t addressed critically in schools becomes normalized and taken for granted.

#MeToo and The Color Purple

During a recent conversation, a former high school classmate said, “I always wondered why you left Eureka. I heard that something shameful happened, but I never knew what it was.”

Yes, something shameful happened. My former husband beat me in front of the Catholic Church in downtown Eureka. He tore hunks of hair from my scalp, broke my nose, and battered my body. It wasn’t the first time during the nine months of our marriage. When he fell into a drunken sleep, I found the keys he used to keep me locked inside and I fled, wearing a bikini and a bloodied white fisherman’s sweater. For those nine months I had lived in fear of his hands, of drives into the country where he might kill me and bury my body. I lived in fear that if I fled, he might harm my mother or my sister.

I carried that fear and shame around for years. Because even though I left the marriage and the abuse, people said things like “I’d never let some man beat me.” There was no way to tell them the whole story: How growing up and “getting a man” was the goal, how making a marriage work was my responsibility, how failure was a stigma I couldn’t bear.