Resources for Introducing Students to LGBTQ+ History
As educators, we are dedicated to telling the stories of all Ohioans. For this blog post, we wanted to better understand how to incorporate the LGBTQ+ community’s perspective to educational efforts. This week, we sat down (via Zoom) with a family friend, Dr. Phyllis Gorman, a truly inspirational woman and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
Dr. Gorman is a life-long Ohioan, LGBTQ+ advocate, former director of Stonewall Columbus, and currently holds a leadership role in the Office of Professional Development and Retention at Columbus State Community College. Dr. Gorman received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with her major in sociology and minor in women’s history. Check out our conversation with her and her recommendations for introducing students to LGBTQ+ history.
Dr. Phyllis — when is it best to introduce children to LGBTQ+ issues?
Really, it’s best to start early. My partner and I told our son every year on his birthday about his birth, literally starting the day he was born. If not, then I don’t think we would have fully prepared him for reality.
For sure, I understand that. So, what are ways to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community?
There’s a similar answer to this as wanting to be an ally to many groups. Educate yourself. Learn more about the community that you seek allyship with. Don’t make it about you. That can be hard! Apologize when necessary. When you are acting in a way to demonstrate support, know that you are probably going to make mistakes. You may say or do something stupid, and you might get called out. When you do, know how to say sorry and reflect. There are many books/websites out there – you know, a book like “Heather Has Two Mommies” as a read-aloud to your child/student.
I’ve heard of that one! There is also that penguin book – “And Tango Makes Three”.
Yes, also good. You know, it can just be as simple as asking a member of the LGBTQ+ community, what support can I provide you? And then, do what they say! If you are a teacher and you’re suspicious that “Jimmy” may have two mommies but they have not come out to you – then maybe on parent day, there is a copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies” on your desk. Anything to show your support. It stems from the teachers in the classroom. When they offer that support, then parents know it’s a safe space.
We believe it’s important for parents and teachers both to teach the history behind LGBTQ+ rights and why it matters. Throughout our interview, Dr. Gorman gave informative examples and ideas on how to introduce LGBTQ+ to the classroom and in the home. We want to educate others early to be better informed on how to support the community in a respectful way. Many thanks to Dr. Phyllis Gorman for the pleasant interview!
Below we’ve put together a list of resources to help educators and family members discuss the history of LGBTQ+ rights and why they matter. Got a go to resource not listed? Share it with us at [email protected]
Blog Post Image Citation: Columbus Free Press, Publisher. Stonewall Union parade banner. Picture. Columbus: ca. 1991. Ohio History Connection: Columbus Free Press Collection Audiovisual Series, https://ohiomemory.org/digital/collection/p267401coll32/id/12081/rec/24. (accessed March 12, 2021)