Portfolio Activity for “Class Outing”

LGBT educators enjoy more openness and acceptance than ever before. But their gains have been fragile and uneven. And many still feel it’s safest to teach from the closet.

This activity is to accompany the Teaching Tolerance article "Class Outing."


  • Why might some LGBT educators be hesitant to “come out” to students, parents and colleagues?
  • How does this hesitance impact both LGBT and straight students?
  • What is your school’s culture, related to LGBT educators?
  • How can you and your colleagues encourage a more tolerant culture for LGBT educators?


  • There are many simple things you can do to create an inclusive environment for LGTB educators and students at your school. A few are listed below. Additional details and suggested resources are also included at
    • Display LGTB-inclusive materials in the classroom and school
    • Incorporate LGTB-themed materials into your curriculum.
    • Teach about respect.
    • Encourage students to participate in GLSEN’s Day of Silence (April) or Ally Week (October).
    • Encourage your school to participate in No Name-Calling Week (January).
    • Support LGBT student clubs.
  • Find out your school’s antidiscrimination policies and your state’s antidiscrimination laws protecting LGBT workers. If there are no current policies in place, consider a way to start the dialogue and take action. The ACLU’s Get Busy Get Equal website has several ideas for getting started. These include:
    • Present a proposal to the school board.
    • Be prepared for opposition.
    • Educate the community about LGBT harassment and discrimination.
    • Iron out basic arguments.
    • Build a time line.
    • Measure your likelihood of success.
    • Decide what to propose.
    • Research policies.
    • Identify people to help.


GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

The National Education Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Caucus

The American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT Project

Lambda Legal

GLAAD: Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Transgender Law Center

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