Sunday, June 13, 2010



The organization GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) advocates for students whose sexual orientation or identification make them the target of bullying and name calling in schools. GLSEN has conducted surveys to show how often students feel unsafe at school due to verbal abuse or name calling, and physical abuse, stating that many children that suffer at the hands of bullies often do not report incidents because they feel nothing will be done. GLSEN has two nationally recognized days; National Day of Silence and No Name Calling Week. Both events are designed to bring awareness to the issue of bullying in regards to children who are gay, lesbian, transgendered, or bisexual.
This organization helps support children, teachers, and administrators to help foster an environment of acceptance of all children regardless of their sexual identity. Something that came up that I had never thought about was the name calling even when someone does not identify him/herself as gay, lesbian, etc. In other words, I read about a boy who had committed suicide because of being called gay by other students even though he never identified himself as such. It made me think of all the times I've heard people use the word "gay" to describe someone in a negative way. This boy must have thought so negatively about the term "gay" that over time it killed him. Whether he was or not, that was never mentioned, but imagine all the kids that get picked on for being weaker, for being different, the words used to describe them are often words like gay and faggot.
At the elementary level, 3rd grade, I wonder if this is something I would ever feel comfortable teaching and if so how parents would feel about it? It crosses into sexual education which is a touchy subject and often the cause of much controversy in the field of education.


  1. I agree that at young ages it is difficult to know if it is appropriate to teach your students about sexual orientation issues. I feel like I try to think about the words I use with my young students and stress that differences in what other students choose to like are okay. I do not specifically go into choices of dress, friendships, and partnerships but rather try to use general terms.

  2. I, for one, cannot stand when certain words are used to label people. "Gay" is too much a part of one's vocabulary. It is often used as a reference to something/someone that is stupid, useless, etc. People use it completely incorrectly and out of context. It is like when people say things/people are "retarded." These are verbal attacks on certain communities and because of the commonness of these words in our society, they have become almost acceptable. However, the word, "ni**er", CANNOT be used, right? Atleast not by white people! We have coined this as socially unacceptable and you don't hear people calling each other this as much as the other two. Regardles, I cannot stand when these words are used inappropriately. We have to find a way to correct this.

  3. I teach 1st grade and as I was going through the GLSEN website I too was wondering how I would teach this topic in my classroom. It is a touchy subject and I'm not sure parents would want their children learning about sexual orientation at such a young age.