Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

Edited By Annika Butler-Wall, Kim Cosier, Rachel Harper, Jeff Sapp, Jody Sokolower, Melissa Bollow Tempel

Table of Contents

Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is a collection of inspiring stories about how to integrate feminist and LGBTQ content into curriculum, make it part of a vision for social justice, and create classrooms and schools that nurture all children and their families.

  • How do you respond when a child asks: “Can a girl turn into a boy?”
  • What if your daughter brings home school books with sexist, racist stories?
  • What does “queering the curriculum” really mean? What does it look like?
  • What’s wrong with “anti-bullying” policies? What are alternatives?

Stonewall Award
Winner of a 2017 Stonewall Award in the "Non-Fiction" Category

"In this moment when forces are rallying to demonize all forms of difference, we must recommit to leveraging feminist, queer, and intersectional politics to trouble education. Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality showcases a diverse sampling of possibilities for doing precisely that. Read and act on this book today!"
Kevin Kumashiro, author of Against Common Sense: Teaching And Learning Toward Social Justice and Dean of the University of San Francisco School of Education

"One of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. It should be mandatory reading for anyone involved in education. The essays are so thoughtful and passionate—but, more than that, they’re engaging. I found myself eager to get back to this collection, wanting to quote from every writer I read in here."
Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality—11

What does the new misogyny mean for teachers and schools? What does “queering our schools” look like? Does gay marriage mean equality? What’s next? The articles in this chapter define critical issues and set the context for the rest of the book.

Jody Sokolower

The New Misogyny
What it means for teachers and classrooms.—17
Editors of Rethinking Schools

Queering Our Schools—22
Editors of Rethinking Schools

Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall
Moving beyond equality—27
Therese Quinn and Erica R. Meiners

Chapter 2: Our Classrooms—39

How do we create classrooms and schools that nurture all children as they grow and develop? What are the interrelationships between racism, sexism, and homophobia? How do we help children talk about these issues from preschool on? Parents, teachers, and youth share experiences, strategies, and insights.

Melissa Bollow Tempel

10 Ways to Move Beyond Bully Prevention (And Why We Should)—45
Lyn Mikel Brown

4-Year-Olds Discuss Love and Marriage—50
A. J. Jennings

It’s OK to Be Neither
Teaching that supports gender-independent children—56
Melissa Bollow Tempel

Hello Kitty
A “boy teacher” takes on gender stereotypes—63
Jay Weber

The Character of Our Content
A parent confronts bias in early elementary literature—66
Jennifer Holladay

Believe Me the First Time—72
Dale Weiss

7th Graders and Sexism—82
Lisa Espinosa

Dressing Up—92
Carol Michaels Foresta

When the Gender Boxes Don’t Fit—97
Ericka Sokolower-Shain

As a Mom and a Teacher—100
Jody Sokolower

Standing Up for Tocarra—103
Tina Owen

In Search of Safe Bathrooms—108
Mia Cristerna

“Aren’t There Any Poor Gay People Besides Me?”
Teaching LGBTQ issues in the rural South—110
Stephanie Anne Shelton

Deanna Gao

Chapter 3: Our Curriculum—121

We can’t rethink sexism, gender, and sexuality without radically transforming curriculum. But what does that mean concretely? This chapter includes articles on sex-positive and inclusive sex education, teaching women’s and LGBTQ history, creating books and plays, re-envisioning the classics, analyzing popular culture, and more.

Jeff Sapp

Disarming the Nuclear Family
Creating a classroom book that reflects the class.—126
Willow McCormick

Sex Talk on the Carpet
Incorporating gender and sexuality into 5th-grade curriculum—130
Valdine Ciwko

2nd Graders Put On a Gender-Bending Assembly—136
Margot Pepper

Of Mice and Marginalization—142
Michelle Kenney

Elbow Is Not a Sexy Word
Approaches to sex education—149
Jody Sokolower

Teaching Sex Positivity
An interview with Lena Solow—157
Annika Butler-Wall

7 Tips for Teaching Sex Ed—165
Ericka Hart

Intersectionality: Gender, Race, and the MediaAn interview with Liza Gesuden—168
Jody Sokolower and Annika Butler-Wall

Young Women in the Movimiento
Chican@ studies after the ban—175
Curtis Acosta, Alanna Castro, and Maria Teresa Mejia

When Emma Goldman Entered the Room
Dealing with the unexpected in a role play—185
Brian C. Gibbs

Is She Your Bitch?
Confronting sexism on the fly—192
Deborah Godner

Seneca Falls, 1848
Women organize for equality—197
Bill Bigelow

A Midsummer Night’s Gender Diversity—211
Lauren Porosoff

Teaching The Laramie Project—217
Kimberley Gilles

Creative Conflict: Collaborative Playwriting—226
Kathleen Melville

500 Square Feet of Respect
Queering a study of the criminal justice system—235
Adam Grant Kelley

Teaching Angels in America—243
Jody N. Polleck

Baby Mamas in Literature and Life—254
Abby Kindelsperger

Chapter 4: When Teachers Come Out—263

“Should I come out to my students? When? How? What can I do to protect myself?” “I’m an ally—how can I be supportive?” The stories in this chapter illuminate approaches, problems, and rewards.

Jeff Sapp

“My Teacher Is a Lesbian”
Coming out at school—266
Jody Sokolower

Two Men and an Imaginary Dog—273
Shawn Chisty

Challenging Homophobia in the Classroom
Lessons from two students—278 Lidia Gonzalez

Transsexuals Teaching Your Children—284
Loren Krywanczyk

“She’s for Real” An 8th-grade teacher comes out—291
Tracy Wagner

A Xican@ Teacher’s Journey—295
Marisa Castro

Chapter 5: Beyond the Classroom—301

How do we create healing space for young Black women? What can a school do to support trans children? How do you get a district to change its policies and practice? Parents, teachers, activists, administrators, and a children’s book author share their stories of support, advocacy, literature, and activism.

Rachel L. S. Harper

Ask Me Who I Am—305
Sam Stiegler

We Begin to Know Each Other—310
Maiya Jackson

Space for Young Black Women
An interview with Candice Valenzuela—319
Jody Sokolower

“Save the Muslim Girl!”—328
Özlem Sensoy and Elizabeth Marshall

Those Who Carry Bias—337
T. Elijah Hawkes

Dear Parents of Transgender Children—342
Shannon Panszi

Rethinking the Day of Silence—345
Adriana Murphy

Gay-Straight Alliances Align with Restorative Justice
An interview with Geoffrey Winder—351
Annika Butler-Wall

Policy Change: A Student Perspective—356
Patrick McLinden

Mirrors and Windows
Conversations with Jacqueline Woodson—363
Renée Watson

Chapter 6: Teacher Education, Continuing Education—367

How do we help new—and veteran—teachers feel more confident and competent to bring explorations of sexism, gender, and sexuality into their classrooms? Teacher educators and parents suggest approaches, curriculum, and resources.

Kim Cosier

“Let’s Put Our Bias Goggles On”
Reading representations of Black girl identity through critical lenses—372
Kim Cosier

Still Miles of Sexist Aisles
Helping students investigate toy stores—383
Sudie Hofmann

Patti Simmons

An Open Letter to My Son’s Teacher—393
Shannon Panszi

Framing Identity
Using photographs to rethink sexism, gender, and sexuality—397
Kim Cosier

Sergio’s Voice
Fostering writing lives—408
Lilia E. Sarmiento

“It’s Not Appropriate!”
Sexual orientation in teacher preparation curriculum—416
Nancy Niemi

“Are You a Girl or a Boy?”
Reading 10,000 Dresses with college students—424
Robert Bittner

Teaching and Learning About Sexism
3 conceptual challenges—429
Leigh-Anne Ingram

Gayvangelical: Teaching at the Intersection of Religious and Queer—436
Jeff Sapp
Annika Butler-Wall
Additional Resources—451
Compiled by Jeff Sapp