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LGBTQ Education: Classroom Practices

LGBTQ Inclusive Language

  1. Don't assume all students are straight and cisgender.
  2. Don't assume being LGBTQ is a problem.
  3. Don't "out" people. A student may be out with a few trusted people at school, but may not be out at home.
  4. Allow students to self-identify. Labels may change as young people discover the identity that fits. 
  5. Don't make assumptions about students' gender identity.
  6. Watch for connotative bias. Phrases like "sexual preference" or "alternative lifestyle" suggest a choice.
  7. Consider the power of words. Phrases like "that's so gay" suggest being gay is bad.
  8. Avoid negative expressions about gender (such as "man up," "you throw like a girl," "don't be a sissy").
  9. Be careful about unintentional heterosexism (try "date" instead of boyfriend or girlfriend, "parents" for mom and dad, or "spouse" for husband or wife).
  10. Confront bullying and bias.

Weinberg, Michael (2009). LGBT-Inclusive Language. English Journal, 98(4), 50-51.

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