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"I’m in high school and one of my teachers is prone to making rather queerphobic / heteronormative jokes and comments. As a queer person myself do you think I should call her out on it or just stick it out?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Sara Schmidt-Kost as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Sara Says:

First, I just want to say that no student should have a teacher who makes comments like those. And I hope that you have other teachers who are respectful, positive role models for you and your peers.

As I see it, you have a few different options, depending on your specific circumstances. It’s going to be easier for you to address these issues if you are supported by other students, your family, other teachers, school administration, and your community. If there is a GSA at your school or an out, queer teacher, you could go to them first and ask for advice or help dealing with the teacher making comments.

If you feel comfortable, absolutely bring it up with the teacher. Any good teacher should be open to hearing from students if the student approaches them in a calm and constructive way. Perhaps your teacher doesn’t even realize she is saying something offensive. Perhaps your teacher didn’t realize her comments were affecting students. You could say something in class right when she makes a joke or comment, or wait until after class to say something. If it helps, you could ask a friend to speak up with you. Power in numbers!

Another option, if you don’t want to directly confront your teacher, or if your teacher blew you off after you confronted her, would be to bring the matter up with your school administration. Document the comments that your teacher makes, and try to enlist some friends or other students in other classes to document them as well. Note the date, time, and quote what was said for a few weeks. Once you and other students get enough evidence, go to the school administration and demand they do something about that teacher.

You deserve to feel safe and supported at school. I hope your teacher will learn from her mistakes and realize that queer people exist in your school and in the world.


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