Thursday, October 2, 2014

Safe Spaces - August

    In the article "Safe Zone"by Gerri August, she describes how classroom spaces have an effect on all of us. This is why it is important for teachers to keep a secure environment inside their classrooms, especially for students of the LGBT community. August explains her argument by connecting it to Johnson's, "Privilege, Power, and Difference" and the SCWAAMP exercise we did in class when she says, "Heterosexisim is one of those unexamined avenues of privilege. Assumptions that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual shape most classroom interactions, whether academic or social"(84). I found this quote interesting because I  attended a school that was very supportive of the LGBT community, we even had a program called "the gay-straight alliance". This made it more comfortable for many of my gay friends and fellow classmates to be open about their sexual orientation and to be accepted by their peers. Because of this, I find myself at sometimes being ignorant to the fact that heterosexism is a privilege in our society and that it is something that as a future teacher I will need to be aware of so that I can make my classroom space comfortable and safe for any student, no matter what their sexual orientation.

      August discusses how teachers can make their classrooms more secure for students of the LGBT community. The main point that she makes is adding sexual orientation topics into school curriculum. She addresses that teachers talk about families coming in all different forms, but rarely teach about families with two moms and their children or two dads and their adopted daughter. By doing this, heteronormative beliefs are reinforced. August further explains the public's negative attitude towards teaching students about gay families and accepting them as a new social-norm. August gives an example of this when she explains a PBS series, Postcards from Buster, a show starring an animated rabbit that travels around North America to visit children and families to teach him about their local culture. In one episode, "Sugartime" Buster meets three children that come from a family consisting two moms. Although, a gay family was represented in the episode, the words "gay" or "lesbian" where never used. Even so, PBS pulled the episode because they believed that parents would not want their children "exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode". Cutting this episode, adds to the deprivation of the education of sexual orientation for children, which only keeps Heterosexism a privilege in modern society as well as keeps students of the LGBT community feeling embarrassed and distressed in the classroom. In result, the generation in which Postcards from Buster was intended for will grow up being uneducated about gay and lesbian families and culture. By the time it is introduced to them in adulthood it will be a foreign concept to them and it will be believed to be "unconventional"and they will be least likely to accept it. August argues that teachers need to be aware of this and educate students from an early age about sexual orientation so that  these children will be more accepting of the LGBT community and as a result will help to keep a "safe space"in their classrooms. 
Family from "Sugartime" episode


  1. I really liked how you tied in SCWAAMP and Johnson into your blog this week. Great Post!

  2. I thought it was interesting that you said you found yourself, "sometimes being ignorant to the fact that heterosexism is a privilege in our society". You, unlike many people, grew up in an accommodating environment, so it seems like acceptance was the normative for you. If I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying that you'll have to put in extra effort to remember that the COP is not as accepting as your upbring or current viewpoints on LGBT issues, and due to that you have to remind yourself that there is still inequality. That is great! I think educators sometimes do need to realize that their current viewpoints my not always match the COP, and always take a personal inventory to strategize ways to give students the best possible environment.