The Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) hosted a panel of Sequoia teachers who shared their advice with students, parents and other Sequoia administration members on how to create a welcoming environment for LGBT students.
The discussion took place in the MPR on Nov. 9, and the panel consisted of Danny Bliss, Jane Woodman, Greg Schmid, William Gray, Dy Nguyen, Michelle Murray and Nichole Vaughan, all from various departments. The participating teachers shared their techniques as to how they have worked to incorporate the LGBT community into their classrooms and their concerns with what needs to change in the community.
“I wanted to set a good example for [my] students.” said Nguyen, who has been the long standing advisor of the GSA club. In her early years teaching at Sequoia, Nguyen felt that her marriage with a women was too personal for school. Eventually, she decided that it was best to introduce her students to a different kind of family and incorporate the LGBT community into her classroom setting.
“ [LGBT issues] should be, and could be, integrated into all subjects,” said Murray
She argued that having the issue be widely incorporated in classrooms would set a good example for students.
Junior Sunaina Butler, a GSA board member, agrees that school is a place where many students discover their opinions on different controversial issues.
“I think that a lot of times we don’t consider something until we hear about it in school,” Butler said.
Although teachers are aware of the lack of incorporation of the LGBT community in curriculum and want to make a change, Butler points out that it may be difficult to do this as some curriculums are very strict.
“I have not seen it in any of my regular curriculum [classes] just because, in the classes that I take, it’s so strict what you have to learn,” Butler said.
But she still believes that it is important to make an effort to incorporate LGBT topics in subjects with less rigid instructional organization.
“In history we are learning about civil rights movements, and we have learned about all different kinds, except for [LGBT ones].”