Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Students and Staff
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Q. How would you support LGBTQ students, and where do you stand on related literature being housed in school libraries.
A. I very much support the inclusivity of 2SLGBTQIA+ students and staff, and I think it's important for schools to be good role models of acceptance. Part of that is including books in libraries that present positive examples of regular characters who happen to be trans, gay, etc. and illustrate a variety of family structures.
I understand that some people are concerned that reading about a trans experience or asexuality might create an issue when there were none, but that's the same argument that was used thirty years ago to try to ban any gay or lesbian depictions in books, a happy family with two dads for instance, to prevent children from becoming gay. We don't have more gay and lesbian adults now than we did then; we just have more people who are more comfortable being themselves openly. The same will be true for trans or asexual students who will feel more comfortable being themselves if they see characters in books accepting their own burgeoning sexuality.
Our trans students see themselves in a negative light in most mass media, often as serial killers. Check out Disclosure on Netflix for a great discussion of trans representation in media. I believe it's imperative for school libraries to offer books that counter that portrayal and illustrate a healthy and happy trans experience. Trans students have a disproportionately high suicide rate. It's not because they're trans, but because they and/or their community have been misled to believe there's something wrong with their identity. Schools should do all they can to ensure that they're not adding to that harmful perception.
ETA: Check out Last Week Tonight's show on this - here's a snippet (through Twitter because it's not available in Canada) about the joy that can be experiences when Trans kids have their basic rights met.
ETA: Fun fact: All the other elements in a periodic table just account for 1% of everything, by mass: