School Psychology Forum
The R(ally) Cry: School Psychologists as Allies and Advocates for the LGBTQ Community
Paul C. McCabe
School Psychologists as Allies and Advocates for the LGBTQ Community
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ABSTRACT: The climate of acceptance of LGBTQ individuals is slowly improving in the United States, but many schools remain blind, biased, and unreservedly discriminatory toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. Educators have much work to do to make schools safe and affirming for all youth, including LGBTQ youth. In particular, school psychologists are charged with upholding professional ethics and best practices to protect the dignity and rights of LGBTQ youth and ensure an equal educational opportunity. In this paper, school psychologists are called upon to serve as allies to the LGBTQ community. School psychologists as allies try to understand more about the lives of LGBTQ individuals, including challenges associated with the coming-out process and the bias and discrimination that often ensue. School psychologists are encouraged to reflect on the benefits of privilege and consequences of belonging to marginalized/oppressed groups in our society, as well as the emphasis placed on heteronormativity and strict gender roles and gender binary, the intersectionality of identities, and the consequences of allowing LGBTQ discrimination to persist unchallenged. Steps to developing ally behavior are reviewed. The paper concludes with concrete strategies school psychologists and educators can do to make their schools more affirming and safe for LGBTQ individuals.