Every Class in Every School -- The first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools
This results of this survey were released almost a year ago, but are worth looking at for anyone interested in queer and trans* students’ experiences in Canadian schools — and it’s likely that many of the conclusions apply to a broader context as well. The authors also provide a number of suggestions for changing anti-queer and anti-trans* atmospheres in schools. From the executive summary:
This report discusses the results of a national survey of Canadian high school students undertaken in order to investigate what life at school is like for students with sexual or gender minority status. Our study sought to identify the forms and extent of students’ experiences of homophobic and transphobic incidents at school, the impact of those experiences, and the efficacy of measures being taken by schools to combat these common forms of bullying.
Being harassed, insulted, and told that their identities belong in the guidance office, not in the classroom, will not succeed in making LGBTQ students heterosexual and gender-conforming; it will only make them unhappy. What students have told us in the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools is that speaking up works and that they want the adults in their lives to do their parts. Many participants in our survey, LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ, commented on their extreme disappointment with school staff who look the other way when disrespectful language is being used. The findings of our study provide ample reasons for educators and administrators across the country to take up the challenge of welcoming their LGBTQ students and students with LGBTQ parents into inclusive twenty-first century schools that explicitly and meaningfully oppose discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation and genuinely embrace safer and more respectful school environments for all members of their school communities.
No Justice, No Peace: Challenging ‘Diversity’ and Embracing Conflict
Very interesting piece from Radical Faggot on “diversity” and conflict in the classroom. Excerpt:
The conflicts which arise in our classrooms are opportunities which reveal to us which issues are most relevant to the members of that community, and provide us with inroads which can allow us to push thinking on those issues to new levels. When we neutralize them, we are avoiding the work which comes with addressing systems of inequity, challenging them at their root, and imagining the more just orders which might replace them. When we shut students down, no matter how offensive we find their comments, we are forcing them to accept the model of the world which we as their educators possess, leaving them no room to make their own statements about the systems they are a part of, and giving them no ownership in thinking how they might look differently. Evading conflict for the sake of protecting the members of our community is a contradiction, because it is only postponing the journey towards justice, and is accepting dormant anger and unease as a solution to the inequity of the world which our students are living in every day. When we mistake this absence of conflict as the presence of peace we are making a grave mistake, for there can be no peace without justice, and there can be no justice without the acknowledging and engaging of conflict.