My students need books that explore gender and LGBTQA identity, history, and issues for our Gender Studies classroom. They are warriors for social justice and peace and, with your help, they can change our school climate.
I teach Gender Studies in a diverse, high-poverty neighborhood.
Madison is a diverse public high school: 17% of students are African/African American, 23% Hispanic, 16% Asian/Pacific Islander, 9% multi-racial, 2% Native American, and 33% Caucasian.
Many of my students struggle with challenges outside of school. Over 70% of our students are below the poverty line. Many students are in the foster care system or are homeless. Many are recent immigrants learning English as a second language. Several are questioning their gender and sexuality with little support. I have amazing students who use their diversity and life experiences to their advantage. They are excited to explore the intersection of gender, race, and class.
Madison High School is home of the first Gender Studies class in Portland. My students came to me with enthusiasm and hopes that they could not only learn more about identities that have been erased from curriculum, but also change the climate of our school. In a time where high school hallways are plagued with "That's so gay" and 'f-bombs', Gender Studies was a place where many students found community and voice at Madison. As one student wrote in their class review, "Gender Studies saved me. I found my people, grew strong and resilient, and spread love and tolerance because of this class. It should be required."
The books in this project will help my students explore identity, theory, history around gender and sexuality in order to better educate our school.
I am hoping to supplement class with books that explore intersectionality like 'Namibia's Rainbow Project' and 'Changing Ones' because queer people of color often find themselves outcasts of both communities and their stories shed light on the penetrative power of institutional oppression. I am asking for more books that explore LGBTQA history like 'A Queer History of the United States' to challenge the invisibility of these his/her/they-stories in mainstream Social Studies rooms. I am most excited for the workbooks on this list like 'Gender Quest' and 'Guide to Gender' because my students love interactive material and need a safer space to explore and develop their own gender identities.
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