LGBTQIA Faculty/Staff Resources

The Dos and Don'ts of Queer Inclusion in the Classroom

What does it mean to cultivate a gender-inclusive teaching and learning environment? It means to create a classroom and school wide environment that invites full participation of students of all genders and responds to harmful actions of gender stereotyping and misgendering of students, which negatively impacts student learning.

The Dos and Don'ts listed below provide a roadmap to inclusive practices within the classroom, both online and in-person. The Dos and Don'ts also include intentional practices to incorporate into curriculum, policies, classroom facilitation, and interactions with students. 

The Dos work are suggestions for cues of inclusion. Throughout the interviews conducted with current and alumni students, the need for cues of inclusion was highly recommended and encouraged. Some easy suggestions and intentional cues might be changing a class greeting from “good morning, guys” to “good morning, folks,” adding pronouns to email signatures, or posting a rainbow, Ally, or Safe Zone sticker on an office window.

Most importantly, the Dos emphasize intentional, not performative actions. Students can easily tell when practices are performative rather than cultivated, learned, and implemented through conscious choices.

 

DOs: 

  • Listen when your students talk to you 

  • Take Safe Zone trainings offered through the Mohin-Scholz LGBTQIA Resource Office
  • Add pronouns in your email signature

    • Ex: Your Name 

      • Pronouns:

        • she | her | hers,

        • he | him | his,

        • they | them | theirs 

        • Other

  • List your pronouns on your syllabus 

  • Correct students when a student is misgendered in class and that student is already “out,” and your correction wouldn't potentially be “outing” them.

  • Make sure to correct language and behavior that is discriminatory - words are violence, too.

  • Add a rainbow sticker to your office door, somewhere in your classroom, etc. to signal allyship

    • Include an allyship sticker on your nametag / laptop / water bottle, etc.

    • Include your pronouns on your nametag 

    • Pronoun pins 

  • Take a Safezone course

  • Attend Ally trainings and Queer conversations 

  • Add queer content to your curriculum: 

    • Highlight Queer scientists, artists, musicians, historians, psychologists, physicians, activists, educators, authors, engineers, etc. 

    • Pages/readings about pronouns, misgendering, LGBTQ+ history, etc. 

    • If any of your content has any “activating” aspects to it that may impact your students, offer alternatives. 

      • State in your syllabus “this literature touches on the topic of ____________, this could be potentially activating (triggering) for some people. There are alternative texts/options available if needed.”

  • Provide opportunities to share and use students’ pronouns and names: 

    • Review your roster for names and pronouns.

    • Remind students they can update their name on Seanet so that all of their information is updated in Canvas and for their professors.

    • Have students share their names and pronouns aloud or by writing them (online).

    • Icebreakers that present the opportunity for students to introduce themselves.

    • Questionnaire at the beginning of class for you to capture this information.

  • Affirm, Support, and Listen. 

 

DON'Ts:

  • Don’t pigeon hole or put your students in a box. 

    • Every student’s experience is their own. 

    • There is no-gate keeping of what gender or sexuality a student chooses to identify with, nor a single definition or "right" answer based off that identity. 

  • Don't force students to share their pronouns, especially in an online setting. Forcing students to out themselves to their class community is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

  • Don’t assume anything, yet allow students to express who they are and who they are not.