Incorporating LGBT Subject Matter

Suggestions to Incorporate Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Subject Matter into Class Curriculum

1. Self Educate. Discover well-known LGBT researchers or authors in your particular area of study, which can easily be done by an extensive online search, electronic article search at your institution’s library and/ or asking your Women & Gender Studies colleagues and LGBTQA Services. Increase your personal knowledge with accurate information.

2. Multiple Issues. Discuss sexual orientation and gender identity in conjunction with other dimensions of differences such as 1) examining similarities and differences between all forms of sexual and gender identity, 2) utilizing the lens of power and privilege to examine how sexual orientation and gender identity shapes experiences, and 3) exploring sexual orientation and gender identity from a wide range of cultural and theoretical perspectives, indicating cultural and historical parameters of definitions.

3. Current Research. Incorporate current information (e.g. articles, research, and recent discussion transcripts) about fellow colleagues within your field of study that have made LGBT contributions to your field or openly identify as LGBT.

4. Self Examination. Explore your own comfort levels and biases with regard to sexual and gender identity. The degree to which we feel secure and comfortable with addressing this topic will influence how students respond to discussions as well as explore their own comfort levels.

5. Anticipate Reactions. Students and colleagues may reactive negatively or positively to incorporating LGBT issues in your curriculum. Are you prepared to respond to negative reactions or assumptions that question the legitimacy of teaching content related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity? Two good articles: “Outing the Classroom: A Practical Guide,” by F. David Kievitt and Joanne Glasgow, and “Beyond the Comfort Zone: Including Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students in Transformed Teaching,” by Simon Newman.

6. Research. Find out if your area of study has LGBT associations, organizations and/or committees to help gather LGBT information and share this information with students.

7. Resource Materials. Create a list of LGBT resource materials (e.g. contact information, web resources, books, authors, articles, etc.) and update this list annually. This may be beneficial for your students who are interested in LGBT contributions in your area of study or students who identify as LGBT.

8. Incorporate. Utilize the research incorporating LGBT perspectives. You could incorporate readings into your syllabus and/or web-sites including LGBT books, bibliographies and reading lists.

9. Stay informed. This task can easily be designated to research assistants who compile a list or prevalent LGBT contributions in your field of study.

10. Responsiveness. Establish guidelines for respectful classroom dialogue. You can interrupt inappropriate language, stop insensitive jokes, and address inappropriate behaviors.

11. Inclusive. Be inclusive to LGBT people. You may want to review terminology in the LGBT community. For example, you could use gender neutral terms such as partner instead of husband or wife; mention sexual orientation when appropriate -- make it visible; include information about sexual orientation of historical and cultural figures.

12. Do not make Assumptions. Don’t make assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Rely on self-identification and respect confidentiality and the right to self-disclosure.

13. Be a Visible Ally. Take the initiative and make it visible that you are LGBT friendly by modeling supportive and affirming behaviors such as language you use and/or the examples and even when you decorate your office and the books on your shelves. You may want to join the ASU SafeZONE Program, or contact: safezone@asu.edu.

14. Course Visibility. After incorporating LGBT curriculum components into your course submit the syllabi and ask for it to be included as an LGBT Certificate elective. Next, post the ASU LGBT module on your course blackboard in order to increase the visibility of LGBTQ resources at ASU for students