Every time a teacher lines children up in the boy or the girl line or uses the phrase “both genders” or “opposite sex”; every time a school separates dress codes, bathrooms, locker rooms, physical education classes, and graduation robes into those for girls and boys; and every time another year goes by without representation of transgender and gender diverse people in English language arts (ELA) curricula, students learn clear lessons about whose genders deserve recognition and affirmation, and whose do not.
Despite some significant social and legal victories, the rights of transgender and gender diverse people are still ignored and, in some cases, attacked. Likewise, transgender and gender diverse youth still often face hostile climates in schools across the country. Schools reflect the power structures of the societies that formed them, so the organization and culture of many schools may reflect the myth that gender and sex are binary matters, as well as the faulty assumption that the cisgender experience (the experience of alignment between one’s gender identity and one’s sex assigned at birth) is universal. In order to include, support, and celebrate our trans and gender diverse students and families, schools must confront and amend exclusive and antiquated policies, procedures, and pedagogies.
The purpose of the current statement is to support ELA educators as they guide their students, as well as their colleagues, to understand, expect, and embrace gender diversity. Guidelines for Affirming Gender Diversity through ELA Curriculum and Pedagogy presents the historical background of this work; key concepts for discussing gender and gender diversity; current trends in schools and ELA classrooms; recommendations for teacher preparation, curriculum, and pedagogy; and resource lists for students, teachers, and teacher educators.
In 1990, NCTE published Guidelines for a Gender-Balanced Curriculum in English Grades 7–12, followed by a similar statement intended for use in curriculum design in English language arts grades preK to 6. Both statements sought to illuminate gender inequity in the ELA curriculum—particularly in young adult and children’s literature—and to offer research-based recommendations for a gender-balanced curriculum. Both statements were prepared by the Women in Literature and Life Assembly (WILLA) of NCTE, which was later renamed the Gender and Literacy Assembly (GALA) of NCTE. In 2014, GALA also prepared a statement titled Diverse Gender Expression and Gender Non-Conformity Curriculum in English Grades 7–12, which “encourage[s] a continued, fluid recognition of ‘gender’ as something that is complex, incomplete, infused with cultural power discourses of race, class, socioeconomics, sexuality, and much, much more.” NCTE’s Statement on Gender and Language (2018), which presents an updated glossary of gender-expansive terminology that moves beyond binary notions of gender, offers a plethora of recommendations for teachers and administrators regarding pronoun use, grammar and usage, classroom culture, and curriculum design.
The current position statement, Guidelines for Affirming Gender Diversity through ELA Curriculum and Pedagogy (2020), builds on this prior work and provides a rationale, recommendations, and resources for the representation and study of gender diversity within English language arts curricula. This history clarifies that understandings of and language around gender and its representation are continually changing. Likewise, the current statement is not final or definitive, but a part of an ongoing, dynamic process; it is an invitation to educators, indeed all of us, to keep reflecting on, critiquing, and adjusting our practices to make them more affirming, compassionate, and humanizing.
In keeping with the Statement on Gender and Language (2018), NCTE understands gender as a “cultural construct that is not limited to binary categories.” Some gender identities include girl, boy, woman, and man, but they also include nonbinary, gender fluid, gender queer, and transgender, among many others. While gender necessarily intersects with other markers of an individual’s identity—markers including, but not limited to, sexuality, race, religion, and dis/ability—gender is often erroneously conflated with sex (Crenshaw, 1991; Serano, 2007). Some descriptors of sex include female, male, and intersex. It can be easy for us to assume that because we know someone’s gender, we know their sex, or that because we know the sex someone was assigned at birth, we know their gender identity. Such presumptions are problematic for all of us, but particularly for those whose sex and/or gender identity do not align with their sex assigned at birth.
Just as gender is often conflated with sex, sex is often presumptively conflated with sexuality. Some descriptors of sexualities are lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and straight, among many others. Although sex and sexual identities are not the focus of this statement, they are important to consider in distinguishing and understanding gender. The interrelations between gender and sexuality are captured by what theorist Judith Butler (1999) has called the heterosexual matrix: the cultural expectation that people are either men who act in masculine ways and desire women, or women who act in feminine ways and desire men. Within the heterosexual matrix, there is an assumption that there is an “opposite” gender, as if gender is one of only two categories: woman or man. A woman who behaves in ways society has constructed as masculine, or a man who behaves in ways society has constructed as feminine, may often be presumed to be gay or lesbian. This is why, for example, some parents worry that if their young son likes to wear a skirt, it’s a sign he’s gay. Such parents are noticing a disruption to the type of gender expression they expect based on their child’s sex, a disruption which they assume will then disrupt other matrix categories, including sexuality. These interpretations may or may not be aligned with the individual’s experiences of gender identity, their embodiment and acts of gender expression, or their experiences of sexual attraction and behavior (the child in this example may not be either nonbinary or gay), but the heterosexual matrix laces together expectations of gender and assumptions around sexuality. Those assumptions become not just intertwined but binding. Of course, this particular arrangement of gender and sexual desire doesn’t hold for all people, but the expectation that it does is what undergirds the heterosexual matrix and heteronormativity. Luckily, by pushing on and questioning one aspect of the matrix, all the other pieces start to tumble too, as in a Jenga game, where one displaced block disrupts the entire structure (Hermann-Wilmarth and Ryan, 2015).
Gender is not only tied up with sexuality, though. Gender is also always constructed in cultural contexts where other identities, perhaps infinite other identities, are also always constructed. Therefore, respecting and including gender diversity in our classrooms always comes with and alongside discussions of inclusion of diverse people with respect to sexualities, romantic orientations, abilities, racial and ethnic identities, and other identity markers. For example, just as not all women experience the world in the same ways, not all gender queer and transgender people experience the world in the same ways since people’s experiences are always mediated by their intersecting identities. Therefore, even if our curricula include transgender people, we need to ensure that this inclusion reflects diverse intersections of gender and other identities. These texts can help our students make sense of social issues surrounding identity broadly and its expression as impacted by the current political moment.
Current School Trends
The 2017 GLSEN National School Climate Survey research (Kosciw et al., 2018) revealed a rise in negative experiences of transgender and gender diverse students in schools. The 2019 GLSEN survey (Kosciw et al., 2020) reveals persistent cause for concern, including these key findings regarding school climate and gender, quoted here directly from the report:
- Transgender students experienced a more hostile school climate than LGBQ cisgender students and nonbinary students.
- Nonbinary students experienced a more hostile school climate than cisgender LGBQ students.
- Among cisgender LGBQ students, male students experienced a more hostile school climate based on their gender expression and on sexual orientation than cisgender female students.
- Cisgender female students experienced a more hostile school climate based on their gender than cisgender male students.
Many transgender and nonbinary students are still being forced to use facilities corresponding to their legal sex, are still barred from sports teams that reflect their gender identity, and are still prevented from using their chosen name and pronouns. Such discriminatory policies send clear, harmful messages about whose gender and identity is legitimate, and also have the potential to drive students from schools, precluding them from innumerable opportunities.
And it’s not just the physical school facilities and policies that are unwelcoming to trans and gender diverse students. As English teachers, we understand the awesome power of language to shape a school or classroom environment. Negative remarks about transgender people have also increased in recent years, as have incidents of verbal harassment regarding gender expression and frequency of disparaging comments about gender expression by school staff. It’s no wonder, then, that among respondents to GLSEN’s 2019 survey, transgender students were more likely than other LGBQ respondents to report missing school because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and more likely to report that they were not planning to complete high school or were not sure if they would complete high school. On the survey, 84.4% of transgender students and 52.4% of nonbinary students responding reported feeling unsafe at school based on gender (Kosciw et al., 2020).
At the same time, hard-fought visibility has led to increased public discourse about transgender and nonbinary people in mainstream society and therefore in schools. As Woolley and Airton (2020) suggest, educators can evaluate their schools and departments to identify whether support, resources, and/or curricula for and about trans and gender diverse people are lacking. Professional development for both general education and special education teachers will help them to respond to an increasing number of trans issues in everyday conversations in supportive and affirming ways. Equally crucial is the accessibility of trans-related resources and supports, including both activities and materials, for students and the teachers who support them.
In order to be effective, educators need to understand how multiple identities intersect for all of our students, including students of color and students with disabilities who are transgender and gender diverse. We must understand fights against white supremacy, ableism, and the imposition of Western/European/colonial systems as inseparable from gendered expectations. Resources for trans and gender diverse students such as GSA clubs and other alliance organizations, LGBTQ+ affinity organizations, and gender expansive curricula must also include varying experiences that highlight race, ethnicity, class, religion, disability, sexuality, and culture, and how these multiple identities affect a person’s experience of their gender.
In fact, Native American students, many of whom live in rural areas with the fewest trans-related resources at their schools, were the most likely to report a hostile school environment. More than half of these Native American students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression (55.4%) and were most likely to experience harassment or assault due to their gender expression (72.2%). Similarly, trans and gender diverse immigrant students might have gender identities and expressions that are influenced by their cultures and countries of origin. These students have expressed that their gender identity or expression is seen as another aspect of difference between themselves and US-born students. All teachers should understand the social/cultural construction of Western gender systems and the diversity of alternative systems that have existed and still exist across the globe and throughout history.
Currently, US schools show signs of hope and areas of need for trans and gender diverse youth. The vast majority of students still choose not to report their experiences of harassment/assault because they doubt that educators will effectively intervene, or they worry that reporting will worsen the situation. But a recent increase in student-reported incidents of antitransgender discrimination/harassment signifies both an increased trust in the reporting process and an increase in the number of bullying and harassment policies that recognize and explicitly state that victimization based on “gender identity/expression” is unacceptable. Unfortunately, however, the percentage of students who can identify supportive educators/staff, as well as the number of trans-related support and resources available in schools, has leveled off and halted what had previously been a steady increase over time. This stagnation is more troubling when combined with the lack of curricular inclusion of literature by and about transgender people. Notably, these school-based supports were found to be directly related to a more accepting student body (Kosciw et al., 2018).
So What Does This Mean for ELA Classrooms?
People with all kinds of gender identities are already in ELA classrooms, whether as teachers, family members, or students themselves. Seeing ourselves in stories and other texts is a powerful human need. Being able to say “Look, there I am!” feels good. It helps us know that who we are is recognized and validated and that we are not alone. It also sends the message that people like us belong in books, a concrete demonstration that literacy is “for” us. Not seeing ourselves can send the message that there’s no place in that world for us, leaving us feeling strange, isolated, and vulnerable. Not seeing ourselves in books also further reifies the idea that there is something wrong with how we choose to identify. On the other hand, when students see themselves in a text, it encourages them to use their own voice. We must acknowledge that books lend a voice and language to students who may not have had access to such messages otherwise. Therefore, students of all gender identities and expressions—those who demonstrate those identities visibly while they are in our classes and those who may live their gender more expansively after they leave our classrooms—deserve to see themselves in books and other curricular materials and confirm the wide spectrum of identities that do not exist in a vacuum, but are a part of an ever-growing and changing world.
Of course, if we only saw ourselves over and over, our world would be limited to what we already know. We would never learn about the lives and experiences of others, and we could get more than a bit narcissistic seeing only ourselves day after day. Therefore, students who are cisgender also benefit from gender expansive representations in curricula because we all live in a world with people who live gender in a wide variety of ways. When we implement a curriculum that ignores this reality, students are left on their own to process what they hear about transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and gender creative people in popular culture and to learn respectful language for talking about gender diversity. Without direct inclusion of all genders, students get the message that gender must be lived in strict, binary ways and that those who don’t aren’t valued. Further, cisgender students never get the opportunity to learn about stories and experiences different from their own. Perhaps this is why bullying around gender and sexual identities is most likely to occur in schools and classrooms where the humanity of LGBTQ+ people is ignored through curricular silences (Kosciw et al., 2020). Schools teach children about the world and equip students to live in it; because that world includes gender diverse people, schools should teach about gender diversity.
In addition to explicitly introducing more inclusive materials as windows and mirrors (Bishop, 1990) for students, there are additional elements that allow a natural fit for the ongoing inclusion of gender diversity in ELA classrooms as texts are expressions of the human condition. Effective ELA teachers already acknowledge that reading is about much more than sounding out marks on a page; they acknowledge reading as a transaction between the reader and the text—as Louise Rosenblatt suggested—where readers are active in constructing meaning, individually and in partnership with others. That means readers and writers need to be able to draw on all of who they are and what they know about the world to build meaning and reach their full potential. Discussing various perspectives, negotiating among multiple points of view, deconstructing stereotypes, and analyzing and synthesizing messages in texts are all skills ELA teachers should seek to instill in students. Thinking critically about binary gender systems and roles in diverse texts should be a natural continuation of this process. Further, ELA instruction also encourages students to be precise with their language and to use language to accomplish particular goals. Such aims overlap well with helping students represent, respond to, and model the use of respectful and affirming language in relation to gender.
As teachers, we can affirm gender diversity, improving both our schools and classrooms, by preparing ourselves, developing our curricula, adapting our pedagogy, and overcoming our obstacles and fears. Each of these areas is discussed below.
Teacher Readiness and Dispositions
In the introduction to their edited collection Teaching about Gender Diversity: Teacher-Tested Lesson Plans for K–12 Classrooms (2020), Susan W. Woolley and Lee Airton encourage us to consider our own readiness for designing and implementing curricula that centers gender diversity. They note that several factors can impact teacher readiness, including our own personal and professional experience with gender diversity, and our potential fear of making mistakes or confronting hostile administrators or parents.
To engage in this work effectively, we can start by reflecting on our own understandings of gender. We might ask ourselves questions such as these:
- What messages was I sent about gender as a child, and what messages do I send to others, including my students, about gender now?
- In what implicit and explicit ways do I send those messages, and what messages about gender do I interrupt?
- Have I ever challenged gender norms in my own life, and how was that received?
- Have I ever interrupted language that challenges how others express their gender?
- How was that interruption received? What did it feel like to make that interruption? What did it sound like?
- If I haven’t ever challenged gender norms, what has gotten in the way? How can I begin that work in my daily language and conversations with my students?
- What do I understand about how race impacts the perception of gender identity in some cultures?
- How has the media and its stereotyping of gender impacted the way I approach teaching about gender?
This process can help us begin to develop a lens through which to help students interrogate how gender is represented in a range of texts; gain awareness of societal expectations regarding gender; work with texts featuring a diverse range of genders, including intersections with identities such as race, class, sexuality, and ability; and express their emerging understandings regarding these representations and expectations. Developing such lenses for use in ELA classrooms is an ethical, intellectual, and social imperative that provides students with opportunities to engage in critical readings of multiple texts and the world around them. Once we have reflected on our own understandings of gender, we will be more prepared to scaffold our students into expanded approaches to thinking about how gender and sexuality are at play in their own lives, in their interactions with others, and in curricular materials including texts.
As teachers consider how to think more expansively about gender within our curricular work, we can review the materials we have available. Regarding classroom materials, we can ask: Do we regularly use materials that . . .
- include multiple and varied representations of gender?
- feature collections of texts that represent diversity in multiple ways instead of singular texts?
- are included recursively throughout the school year, not only as singular lessons, units, or texts that are exceptions to the curricular norm?
- contextualize representations in sociohistorical and community contexts? (See Gholdy Muhammad’s framework in Cultivating Genius  as a possible model.)
- explicitly attend to the significance of intersecting identities alongside gender?
- include multiple modalities and genres of curricular texts and the texts that students produce?
- feature student choice, both for independent reading/projects but also for small-group and whole-class configurations?
- include own voices and youth-authored texts?
Of course, we don’t necessarily need direct representations of gender diversity to affirm gender diversity. While classrooms can ideally feature texts that represent a range of genders, some teachers may not have access to such materials for a host of reasons, from availability to state mandates about what texts are allowed in ELA classrooms. In such circumstances, we can still address expansive understandings of gender by asking questions of any text and exploring gender representations with our students. For example:
- What does the author assume about gender? How do we know?
- How would the characters in this text react if the protagonist challenged norms of gender? How do we know?
- What can we learn about power based on how the author portrays gender? How does our understanding of intersecting identities help us make sense of how gender is at play in the writing?
- How are cisnormative constructions of gender validated or challenged by the text and by the readers of the text? How would our community—in the classroom, in our school, and outside of school—validate or challenge these constructions? (Hermann-Wilmarth and Ryan, 2015).
While ELA curricula, most often thought of as texts such as literature or writing prompts, are undoubtedly important, curricula do not exist independent of the children, youth, and adults in and beyond classrooms. People construct and continually reconstruct and alter the meaning and significance of curricula as they interact through and around curricula. In this view, our pedagogies and curricula are intimately intertwined, perhaps even co-constitutive. Below are suggestions for how our pedagogical approaches can affirm gender diversity and challenge oppressive gender ideologies in ELA classrooms as a way to complement, extend, and amplify curricular efforts. We can
- assume that the children and youth in our classrooms as well as their families and caregivers embody diverse gender identities. We can avoid assuming that all of these people are cisgender or defaulting to practices that center cis boys and men.
- assume that the children and youth in our classrooms as well as their families and caregivers hold varying beliefs and background knowledge about gender diversity. We can avoid assuming that all of these groups are transphobic, (trans)misogynistic, or uninformed. We can recognize that some of these children, youth, families, and caregivers will be quite knowledgeable about gender diversity, knowing more than we do or bringing different experiences and perspectives from our own. We can value and invite, but not require, people in our classrooms to share their expertise, insights, and experiences. Such community knowledge can become curriculum (Blackburn, Clark, & Schey, 2018; Cruz, 2013).
- provide students with multiple and varying purposes for reading, viewing, and engaging with curricular texts and composing their own texts representing gender diversity. Most commonly, teachers select didactic purposes, meaning that they intend for students to acquire information about people who embody diverse genders with the hope that such information will dispel stereotypes and foster empathy. We can design learning opportunities that reflect multiple purposes for this reading, writing, and discussing, including fostering affirmation, creating opportunities for pleasure, and cultivating political alliances (Clark & Blackburn, 2009).
- teach students multiple ways to interpret curricular texts such as literature. It can be useful at times to read texts inclusive of gender diversity in representational ways. So too can it be useful to read texts that offer limited representations of gender diversity through queer and trans theory lenses (Keenan, 2017; Ryan & Hermann-Wilmarth, 2018; Smith, 2008). Other interpretive lenses can support readers in attending to the simultaneity or intersections of identities, such as race and social class, encouraging more nuanced and humanizing readings. For instance, we might teach students to recognize how gender embodiment and expression have been understood differently across history and cultures.
- provide students degrees of choice when reading, writing, and speaking. At times, it’s important to provide students with choice for their reading, making available and valuing texts that feature gender diversity. So too is it important to provide students with choices for their composing, designing assignments that invite discussions of gender and gender diversity and providing mentor texts that model such writing. We must balance opportunities for choice with other instances when students are required to read, compose, and talk about gender diversity so that some students won’t be able to always avoid gender diversity while other students become spotlighted and hypervisible for doing so (Ma’ayan, 2011; Schey, 2019).
- foster relationships of care and trust among students and between students and ourselves. We can teach them how to participate in dialogue, including how to navigate conflict, tension, and discomfort in ways that are compassionate and humanizing. Such relationships become a foundation for reading, writing, and talking about identities, power, and literacy (hicks, 2017).
- design opportunities for students to explore ideas and values that are new to them rather than only asking students to rehearse their previous ideas and values. Again, diverse reading selections can be a springboard for these explorations.
- integrate the learning of ELA knowledge and skills with learning about gender diversity rather than treating these areas as separate. In other words, try leveraging common ELA standards, such as character or plot analysis and expository writing or pronoun usage, to develop more nuanced understandings of gender so that students increase their learning of academic and sociocultural knowledge simultaneously.
- utilize more general pedagogical practices that affirm gender identities and challenge oppressive gender ideologies. For instance, we can avoid using binary language when addressing students (e.g., “girls and boys”). We can avoid grouping or categorizing students by gender, and challenge male-centered and cisnormative assumptions in our schools and classrooms. We can use students’ names and pronouns accurately and in accord with their wishes. Teachers hoping to learn more about affirming and supporting trans and nonbinary people in everyday life can read Airton’s (2018) book Gender: Your Guide and check out the discussion guide for K–12 educators.
Overcoming Obstacles and Fears
Parent or administrator pushback may be the first concern that comes to teachers’ minds when we try to affirm gender diversity and challenge oppressive gender ideologies in our professional work. It’s important to note the many people who value and are grateful for gender diverse classrooms and curricula. Still, such pushback is certainly possible. To prepare for it, it’s important to clearly articulate to ourselves why we’re taking on this work, and why we’re approaching it in the ways that we are. If we’ve articulated a rationale for an approach or a text to ourselves, we will be more able to articulate it to others. We will also understand more clearly and more meaningfully how crucial this work is, and why it’s worth fighting for if necessary. As teachers, we can draw on our own professional expertise, knowledge, and experiences to develop our own answers to the questions, Why teach a book featuring trans or nonbinary characters? Then, Why teach this book? Why this way? Doing so will prepare us to respond to resistance, and will also help inform and clarify our own pedagogical decisions.
The prospect of pushback from parents, community members, or administrators is, of course, stressful and anxiety-producing. Yet, such resistance might also be reframed as an opportunity to create dialogue and change beyond the classroom walls (Hermann-Wilmarth and Ryan, 2019). In taking on such engagement, we may help create not only classrooms, but also schools and communities that are more open to gender diversity. It can help to identify co-conspirators in such work, whether in the administration, the faculty and staff, among youth, or in the community. Think: who can you turn to for support? Who will understand your aims and help you articulate them to others? Who in the community has experience with gender diversity you can ask for assistance? We can also find support in professional networks such as NCTE’s Genders and Sexualities Equality Alliance (GSEA) or NCTE’s Intellectual Freedom Center who can support you if a text you use is challenged.
These types of challenges often involve intense pressure for teachers to remain “neutral.” In the face of that pressure, teachers may wonder whether it is, in fact, appropriate to take a clear stance of support for trans and gender diverse students, or to challenge cisnormative expectations in their teaching. Yet we can also ask ourselves whether the choice not to take these stances or ask these questions is neutral.
Teachers may have concerns—or face questions from parents and administrators—about whether it is appropriate to address issues of gender diversity with young children in particular. There are many age-appropriate ways to address these issues with all children—since all children experience gender, including noncisgender identities, and live in gender diverse families and communities. Indeed, such conversations can start with students’ lived experiences, with their own questions and observations about colors, toys, people in their lives, and their own experiences of their bodies and genders. By exploring such questions through a range of texts and pedagogies, we can help children understand a broader range of gendered possibilities. We hope this document and the resources listed below give you additional support to those ends.
While these guidelines focus on gender diversity, many resources focus on both gender and sexual diversity, and on intersections between the two. That broader focus is reflected in many of the resources below.
Especially for Students
Baldwin, J. (1956). Giovanni’s room: A novel. Dial Press.
Baldwin, J. (1968). Go tell it on the mountain. Corgi.
Bone, J. (2014). Not every princess. Magination Press.
Common Sense Media. (n.d.) Books with LGBTQ+ characters. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/lgbtq-books
Erickson-Schroth, L. (2014). Trans bodies, trans selves: A resource for the transgender community. Oxford University Press.
Emezi, A. (2019). Pet. Make Me a World.
Ewert, M. (2008). 10,000 dresses. Triangle Square.
Gay, R. (2018). Ayiti. Grove.
Gino, A. (2015). George. Scholastic.
Gonzalez, M. C. (2014). Call me tree / Llámame árbol. Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low.
Gonzalez, M. C., & Smith-Gonzalez, M. (2017). They she he me: Free to be! Reflection Press.
Johnson, M. (2015). Large fears. Large Fears.
Kilodavis, C. (2010). My princess boy. Aladdin.
Lukoff, K. (2019). Call me Max. (Luciano Lozano, Illus.) Reycraft.
Lukoff, K. (2019). When Aidan became a brother. (Kaylani Juanita, Illus.) Lee and Low.
Madrone, K. H. (2018). LGBTQ: The survival guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens. Free Spirit.
Mehra, N. (2020). Brown white black: An American family at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and religion. Picador.
Mock, J. (2014). Redefining realness: My path to womanhood, identity, love & so much more. Atria.
National Center for Transgender Equality. (n.d.). Know your rights: Schools. https://transequality.org/know-your-rights/schools
Naylor, G. (1983). The women of Brewster Place. Penguin.
Okparanta, C. (2015). Under the udala trees. First Mariner.
Prager, S., & O’Ferrall, Z. M. (2017). Queer, there, and everywhere: 23 people who changed the world. HarperCollins.
Prager, S. (2020). Rainbow revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ people who made history. HarperCollins.
Rustin, B., Carbado, D. W., & Weise, D. (2003). Time on two crosses: The collected writings of Bayard Rustin. Cleis Press.
Stepaniuk, C. (2017, May 11). 100 must-read LGBTQIA YA books. Book Riot. https://bookriot.com/2017/05/11/100-must-read-lgbtqia-ya-books/
Stepaniuk, C. (2020, April 3). 15 great new LGBTQ middle grade books. Book Riot.
Taylor, B., & Jimenez, K. P. (2008). Tomboy: A short film about gender explorations for young children. Vimeo.
TeamEpicReads. (2020, May 6). 10 #OwnVoices YA books with trans and non-binary characters. Epic Reads. https://www.epicreads.com/blog/ya-books-with-trans-characters/
Trans Student Educational Resources. (n.d.). http://www.transstudent.org
YA Pride. (n.d.). YA pride: Advocating for inclusive and affirming content in YA lit. http://www.yapride.org/
Welcoming Schools (n.d.). Great diverse children’s books with transgender, non-binary and gender expansive children. https://www.welcomingschools.org/pages/looking-at-gender-identity-with-childrens-books
Wind, L. (n.d.). I’m here. I’m queer. What the hell do I read? https://www.leewind.org/.
Especially for Teachers and Teacher Educators
Airton, L. (2018). Gender: Your guide. Adams Media. https://6dc3aaf3-48c8-4444-91b6-2a271abd9623.filesusr.com/ugd/ef1ed3_bdd5533f66184bf0a53f382652b5d395.pdf
American Library Association. (n.d.). Rainbow round table. http://www.ala.org/rt/rrt.
Blackburn, M. V., Clark, C. T., & Schey, R. (2018). Stepping up! Teachers advocating for sexual and gender diversity in schools. Routledge.
Boyd, A. S., & Bereiter, T. (2017). “I don’t really know what a fair portrayal is and what a stereotype is”: Pluralizing transgender narratives with young adult literature. English Journal, 107(1), 13–18.
Clark, C. T., & Blackburn, M. V. (2009). Reading LGBT-themed literature with young people: What’s possible? English Journal, 98(4), 25–32.
Cramer, K. M. (2018). Clearing paths for transgender identities with middle grades literature. Voices from the Middle, 26(2), 25–29.
Cruz, C. (2013). LGBTQ youth of color video making as radical curriculum: A brother mourning his brother and a theory in the flesh. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(4), 441–460.
Ehernhalt, J. (2016). Being there for nonbinary youth: Sometimes the “T” in LGBT gets overlooked. Teaching Tolerance Magazine, 53(1), 27–30. https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2016/being-there-for-nonbinary-youth
English Journal (Sept. 2020). Affirming LGBTQ+ Identities. 110(1).
Family Equality (n.d.). Book nook. https://www.familyequality.org/family-support/book-nook/
Gender Spectrum. (n.d.). Groups and resources. https://www.genderspectrum.org/resources/education-2/#more-424
Gender Spectrum. (n.d.). Integrating gender diversity into everyday curriculum. https://genderspectrum.org/articles/integrating-gender-diversity
GLSEN. (n.d.). Developing LGBTQ-inclusive classroom resources. https://www.glsen.org/activity/inclusive-curriculum-guide
GLSEN. (n.d.). School climate survey. https://www.glsen.org/research/school-climate-survey
GLSEN. (2017). Separation and stigma: Transgender youth and school facilities. https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/Separation_and_Stigma_2017.pdf.
GLSEN. (n.d.). Unheard voices: Stories and lessons for grades 6–12. https://www.glsen.org/activity/unheard-voices-stories-and-lessons-grades-6-12
Greathouse, P., Eisenbach, B., & Kaywell, J. F. (2018). Queer adolescent literature as a complement to the English language arts curriculum. Rowman and Littlefield.
Hardell, A. (2019, May 17). It’s (NOT) just a phase: Experiences of nonbinary folks 30–70 years of age [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo2FgrTfubw
Hermann-Wilmarth, J. M., & Ryan, C. L. (2015). Doing what you can: Considering multiple approaches to addressing LGBT topics in K–8 language arts curricula. Language Arts, 92(6), 436–443.
Hermann-Wilmarth, J. M., & Ryan, C. L. (2019). Navigating parental resistance: Learning from responses of LGBT-inclusive elementary school teachers. Theory Into Practice, 58(1), 89–98.
hicks, b. l. (2017). Gracefully unexpected, deeply present and positively disruptive: Love and queerness in classroom community. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, 37, 130–145.
hooks, b. (2001). All about love: New visions. Perennial.
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This document was composed by the following working committee:
Dean L. Bavisotto, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Buffalo, NY
Mollie V. Blackburn, The Ohio State University, Columbus
Katherine Mason Cramer, Wichita State University, KS
Ellie DesPrez, John Burroughs School, St. Louis, MO
Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
Danielle Lee, SUNY College at Old Westbury, NY
Heather Killelea McEntarfer, State University of New York at Fredonia
Caitlin L. Ryan, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Ryan Schey, Auburn University, AL
LaMar Timmons-Long, ATech High School, Brooklyn, NY
The committee thanks the authors of NCTE’s statement Diverse Gender Expression and Gender Non-Conformity Curriculum in English Grades 7–12: Deborah Bertlesman, James Cercone, Pamela Hartman, Katherine Macro, Heather Killelea McEntarfer, Candice Moench, Melissa Shanahan, and Susan Schroeder. This statement builds on their work and the work of many others too numerous to list here.
This statement is a revision of three statements: Guidelines for a Gender-Balanced Curriculum in English Language Arts Pre-K to Grade 6 (1995); Guidelines for a Gender-Balanced Curriculum in English Grades 7-12 (1990); and Diverse Gender Expression and Gender Non-Conformity Curriculum in English Grades 7–12 (2014).