By Reagan Reese
The country’s largest teachers union released an LGBTQ toolkit Wednesday for educators, explaining “ze/zim” pronouns and how to address bias around sexual orientation and gender identity within the classroom.
The National Education Association’s (NEA) newest guidance aims to provide resources to educators to help them support LGBTQ students within the classroom by “using inclusive language [and] addressing harmful comments.” The toolkit includes a guide that encourages teachers to introduce themselves with their pronouns and use “gender neutral” pronouns such as “they, them, or their” when they are unsure of someone’s gender.
“In English, we have two sets of gendered pronouns: ‘she/her/hers’ and ‘he/him/his’ are pronouns that are attached to a particular gender,” the pronoun guide read. “Men/males have typically been referred to using he/him/his and women/females by using she/her/hers. We likely all grew up assuming we knew someone’s pronouns just by looking at them, or knowing their gender, but that isn’t the case. In an effort to be more affirming of all, it is important to get out of the habit of assuming pronouns.”
The pronoun guide explains how to use she/her, he/him and they/them pronouns as well as “Ze/Zim/Zir/Zirs/Zirself/Zay or Zee.”
The toolkit also includes a six part training series which addresses “exploring the intersections of race” and how educators can support transgender students. The lesson titled “Walking The Talk: Classroom Strategies For Addressing LGBTQ+ Bias” teaches educators how to be more have a more “inclusive curriculum” and introduces them to “ABAR (anti-bias anti-racist) pedagogy” to address LGBTQ bias within the classroom.
Another session within the six part training “offers opportunities for educators to practice identifying, interrupting and dismantling systems of oppression that affect LGBTQ+ and BIPOC students.” The final session in the series teaches educators to “create safer learning spaces for students who identify as transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming.”
The toolkit advises teachers and administrators to educate themselves on their state’s laws and school district’s policies in order to protect themselves while “still uplifting students.”
Throughout the country, teachers unions are pushing for lessons on gender identity and racial justice within the classroom; In New York City, a teachers union hosted a workshop to teach counselors about resisting the “harmful effects of whiteness.” In May, the NEA backed pledged its support to GLSEN, an organization focused on expanding LGBTQ rights in K-12 education, after reports that the group advises educators to hide gender transitions from their parents.
“Keep in mind that districts may have policies prohibiting certain types of classroom displays, and educators should always seek clarification from their administration and their local or state association,” the toolkit stated. “Many of these laws are intentionally vague and meant to create a climate of fear and self-censorship, even about signs of support that are not prohibited. Knowledge of rights is crucial.”
NEA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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