Magazine Feature

Toolkit for “Out at Last”

This toolkit accompanies the article “Out at Last,” and provides professional-development resources to support LGBT educators, and their straight allies, through the process of coming out.  

Did you know?

  • 16 states have nondiscrimination laws that include gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • 21 states have nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation.

To find out whether your state’s nondiscrimination laws include sexual orientation and/or gender identity, check out this map of state and local laws provided by the Human Rights Campaign.

If your state or county’s nondiscrimination laws do not include sexual orientation and/or gender identity, here are some resources (including a guide to getting started and sample language for nondiscrimination polices) to help you advocate for more equality and fairness in the workplace.

“Out at Last” illustrates some best practices for coming out in the classroom or school:

  1. Know your school’s or county’s nondiscrimination policies before coming out in the classroom or to your colleagues.
  2. Talk with your colleagues about your plans to come out to your students and find some key allies you know will stand up for you.
  3. Use an opportunity like the one presented in the article to be open and honest about yourself and your family when you are asked a question, or when doing so is appropriate to the subject being discussed.
  4. Answer questions in a school-appropriate way and be firm about what you will and will not discuss.
  5. As Edna Brown modeled in the article, make the focus about your relationships.

Straight educators can support their LGBT colleagues in being out in the workplace. Below are some tips and things to consider about being an ally.

  1. Let your LGBT colleagues know that you are an ally to LGBT people and will stand up for them in the workplace.
  2. Encourage all your colleagues to be open and honest about their lives in an appropriate way in the classroom and with each other as colleagues.
  3. In the classroom and with your colleagues, be open about sharing about the lives of LGBT family and friends. Be clear about the primary relationships of your LGBT friends and family members when talking about them. For instance, say “My sister and her girlfriend/partner came to dinner on Friday night” rather than “My sister and her friend came to dinner on Friday night.”
  4. In the classroom, make LGBT families visible through images and stories, and in your curriculum. 
A map of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi with overlaid images of key state symbols and of people in community

Learning for Justice in the South

When it comes to investing in racial justice in education, we believe that the South is the best place to start. If you’re an educator, parent or caregiver, or community member living and working in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, we’ll mail you a free introductory package of our resources when you join our community and subscribe to our magazine.

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