Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive books, and hope, in rural schools
by Dana Rudolph
2019-10-16

This article shared 1788 times since Wed Oct 16, 2019
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


LGBTQ students in rural schools are more likely to face bias and discrimination than those in urban and suburban ones, but their schools are also less likely to have LGBTQ-inclusive resources to support them. That's why several recent college graduates launched Hope in a Box last year. The nonprofit donates boxes of LGBTQ-inclusive books to rural public middle and high schools, along with coaching and curriculum guides to help educators use them effectively.

Between 2.9 and 3.8 million LGBTQ people live in rural areas across the country, according to recent estimates from the Movement Advancement Project. LGBTQ students in rural and small-town schools, furthermore, face more hostile school climates than those elsewhere, including biased language, victimization, and anti-LGBTQ school policies and practices, according to GLSEN's latest ( 2017 ) National School Climate Survey. They were also less likely to have LGBTQ-related school resources or supports.

Joe English, founder of Hope in a Box ( HopeInABox.org ) and a 2017 graduate of Yale University, said in a statement about the project's launch, "I know that feeling of isolation and invisibility personally, having grown up in a small, rural town. After college, I returned to my high school to share my experience with my teachers and see how we could make the next generation of students feel more supported." While his teachers saw the need for diverse books and materials to support their LGBTQ students, they felt they didn't have sufficient familiarity with the subject matter or resources to acquire them.

English and his team thus designed a bibliography of 50 books covering a range of time periods, formats, and identities for students ages 12 to 18. This spring, they partnered with 25 rural public schools to pilot "Starter Boxes" of 20 to 30 books from this list, along with supporting multimedia and curriculum guides. The pilot schools are diverse, including a traditional Mormon school in Washington state, low-income schools in rural Vermont and New Jersey, and conservative Southern schools in Tennessee and Alabama, among others.

All the educators they've worked with say they feel better equipped to reach and support LGBTQ students because of Hope in a Box. Almost all ( 90 percent ) believed the project noticeably improved LGBTQ students' emotional well-being within one semester of receiving materials, and 80 percent plan to formally incorporate the materials into their curricula this academic year.

One middle school English teacher who was part of the pilot told them, "Having a character in literature to connect to can make all the difference for some kids who feel alone." And a librarian who serves grades 7 to 12, said, "I see these books constantly checked in and out sort of silently by my students. … By the nature of where a lot of students are in their journey, there hasn't been a lot of open discussion yet, but these books signal to my students that they are safe with me."

GLSEN founder ( and new Lambda Legal CEO ) Kevin Jennings—who was assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama—was even more blunt, asserting in a statement, "Hope in a Box's work is literally saving lives. When young LGBTQ people see themselves reflected in school curricula, their sense of self and well-being goes up dramatically, and rates of bullying and harassment drop just as dramatically. By providing these resources to schools with little access to them, Hope in a Box is making a life-saving difference for many young people."

The value is for all students, LGBTQ and not. Another high school English teacher told Hope in a Box, "Our small rural district isn't very diverse; it's been incredibly important for us to find creative ways to help students be open-minded and empathetic. I'm so grateful for the guidance and generosity of the Hope In A Box program because it sends our students such an important message: we recognize LGBTQ students and we appreciate them."

One creative writing teacher added, "This library is what lets my students feel comfortable writing about LGBTQ issues and characters in their creative and personal writing."

By the end of the 2019 school year, Hope in a Box aims to support hundreds of rural schools in all 50 states; nearly 200 schools across 35 states have already joined a waitlist. The nonprofit's goal is to help at least half of these schools incorporate the materials into curricula.

A growing number of states ( including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon ) are now requiring public school curricula to include information about the history, writings, and contributions of LGBTQ people. Having materials to support that goal accurately and effectively is vital. In states without such requirements, too, the need for guidance and resources is perhaps greater, since there's less motivation for schools to incorporate such works in the curriculum. Either way, Hope in a Box is targeting the schools that have the greatest need—those in under-resourced rural areas.

A similar initiative, the Make It Safe Project ( MakeItSafeProject.org ), was founded in 2011 by then-14-year-old Amelia Roskin-Frazee, an out lesbian student from California. Make It Safe gives free packages of LGBTQ-inclusive books to schools, youth homeless shelters, and other youth-serving institutions, and has distributed them to more than 60 schools and 25 shelters, with more on the way. Roskin-Frazee is currently an undergraduate at Columbia University, and the project is also now offering a writing scholarship to LGBTQ teens.

Projects like these, with the energy of young, queer activists behind them, can make a real difference for other young people. Visit their websites to find out more and learn how you can help, no matter your age.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( Mombian.com ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.


This article shared 1788 times since Wed Oct 16, 2019
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS Taking care of your mental health during a COVID holiday season 2020-11-26
By Adam Ouanes - This holiday season is unlike any before, and it leaves many people feeling unsure about how to get into the holiday spirit. It's not unusual for many people to find this time of year overwhelming, but ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail: Rats fleeing a sinking ship 2020-11-14
- I've heard the idiom "like rats fleeing a sinking ship" often lately, and while the metaphor is apt for what's going on in the United States, at our house it's even more befitting. Merriam Webster notes, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Harris stands on shoulders of giants 2020-11-09
- The struggle to get President-elect Joe Biden to the finish line first with 270 electoral college votes was unquestionably an epic battle. However, Biden's battle wasn't a century-long one like women finally winning the right to ...


Gay News

Lilly Wachowski: Refuse Fascism, at the Ballot Box and in the Street 2020-11-02
Video below - In a rare, public and political statement, filmmaker Lilly Wachowski (co-creator of The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, Sense8) published this personal essay on the literary website, LitHub.com, calling on people to "Refuse Fascism, at the ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Is Pope Francis' support of civil unions just lip service? 2020-10-29
- Pope Francis has expressed support for civil unions in the Catholic Church. Once again, the pontiff has sent shockwaves across the globe to 1.3 billion of his followers with another LGBTQ- affirming statement. However, this one ...


Gay News

LETTER Thank you, Pope Francis 2020-10-22
- I never thought I would live to see the day when a pope would endorse civil rights for LGBTQ couples. Praise God for His Grace. Also, the many Roman Catholic individuals and organizations who worked so ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett 2020-10-22
- Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of Catholic-rooted organizations including DignityUSA, deplores the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. We have serious concerns about the judgment of any nominee ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Lambda Legal responds to nomination of Judge Barrett 2020-10-13
--From a press release - Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging its members to oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The rushed confirmation hearings began today for President Trump's nominee to fill the seat of the late ...


Gay News

LETTER Vote 2020-10-03
- President Trump, you have had almost four years to lead the United States and have failed us by your own choosing. Whether it be in foreign policy and domestic policy you have not protected the United States ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT As a gay bipolar man, I've learned to live with suicidal thoughts 2020-10-01
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 20. LGBTQ+ youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. In addition, LGBTQ+ youth are almost five ...


Gay News

LGBTQ HISTORY MONTH My Notorious RBG moment 2020-10-01
- In the 1990s, the U.S. Senate was attempting in every possible way to censor this new thing called the internet. The senators soon came up with an idea to stop information that might be objectionable to ...


Gay News

OP-ED: Ruth Bader Ginsburg bent the moral arc toward justice 2020-09-21
- Like so many Americans across the country, I, too, am mourning the news that U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87. As a soft-spoken firebrand ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN True stories, trans tales and more in new picture books 2020-09-16
- New books can be a delightful relief in these days of quarantine. Here are some of the many new LGBTQ-inclusive picture books that just came out last month. (See Mombian.com for even more.) The Fighting Infantryman, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Get involved in Michigan now 2020-09-15
- You probably feel anxious and frustrated by the political climate and the risk that the Republicans will cheat their way to victory or the Democrats will bumble their way to defeat. The best thing you can ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT The common thread of LGBTQ+ stigma and mental health 2020-09-02
- The relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and mental health has always varied from country to country. But when religion enters the conversation, a whole new aspect escalates the stigma. Countries all over the world have high ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.