Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
As educators, we strive to provide a safe and accepting environment for our students in which to learn. We want our students to feel comfortable so their academic and social success is not hindered. However, as far as we have come in this pursuit, there is still room for growth as there are students who still long for their guarantee of feeling safe and accepted in the classroom. Students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning (LGBTQ) are still largely left marginalized, and their needs and concerns often are left unnoticed. Much of the research shows LGBTQ adolescents "live in social environments in which they may be exposed to negative experiences, including social rejection and isolation, diminished social support, discrimination and verbal and physical abuse" (Almeida et. al., 2009, p. 1002). Our LGBTQ students may be in K-12 situations in which they must navigate homophobia in their day-to-day lives and manage the feeling of shame, as well as being positioned as deviant, abnormal, dirty, and disgusting (McDermott, Roen, Scourfield, 2008). It appears that higher education must help preservice K-12 educators move beyond a sympathetic response for LGBTQ youth. Despite good intentions, such forms of sympathy do not pinpoint specific challenges and related intervention needs that this population of students needs, as delineated in the literature to-date. Thus, a need exists for preservice curriculum to incorporate this literature and guide future educators in formulating purposeful intervention responses for LGBTQ youth in our schools. This paper outlines findings from the literature that should constitute the response.