Q: At school, what have you done to create a safer climate for LGBTQ youth and their families?
In the classroom I try to teach the history of certain terms especially the word “faggot” and I told them it came from a “bundle of sticks meant for burning people at the stake.” Understanding that piece of history usually shocks the kids into how hurtful what they are saying is. We have students in our class that have two dads and two moms so we try to be very inclusive with the language that we use.
Q: What were some challenges/barriers you encountered?
The demographics in our schools are Latino youth and within that culture being gay is looked down upon. We are trying to give these students a sort of mind shift to think differently.
Q: What inspired you to create safer spaces for LGBTQ youth?
I have a lot of friends who are gay and some family members too. I was raised to be tolerant so whenever I see discrimination I find it very upsetting. I try to teach to my students to be accepting and open.
Q: What has been the school/community reaction for the work you’ve done?
I haven’t run into too many angry students or parents. I’ve had a student who’s stopped using certain words around me—a small shift, but still important.