Volume 29, Issue 2 (2000)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents in the School Systems
Daniel Ryan, April Martin
Abstract: Families headed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender parents are often invisible in or under served by the school systems. To create important school-home partnerships, schools need to become better informed about these families, including the wide variety of family constellations they comprise, the social obstacles they face, and the reasons why a functional parent may be excluded or remain invisible when the family presents itself. Homophobic views, religious beliefs, traditional ideas about gender categories,and heterosexist assumptions may contribute to a school professional’s discomfort addressing these issues. Resistance also may stem from lack of information about these families, lack of experience and comfort speaking about sexual minority issues in general, a mistaken equation of sexual orientation with sexual behavior, and lack of specific training in how to speak to children about these issues. Additionally, school professionals may fear that being affirmative on sexual minority-parented family issues will expose them to administrative criticism or objections from heterosexual parents. The use of anti-bias and informational training, new curricula, liaisons to outside organizations, and official policy guidelines from school administrations are discussed.
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