Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant

“That’s so gay!” is a phrase commonly heard in elementary schools, and educators are still struggling with how to respond. Too often, the education system ignores the impact of anti-LGBTQ bullying, allowing comments like these to go unchecked in classrooms.

This year for Bullying Prevention Month, download our most sought-after handout, “What Do You Say to ‘That’s So Gay’”?, which teaches educators both how and why it is important to respond to anti-LGBTQ comments. Educators will pick up easy-to-use responses that can be deployed immediately in their classrooms, including:

“It’s not OK at this school to use ‘gay’ disrespectfully to mean something is bad.”

“You may not have meant to be hurtful, but when you use the word ‘gay’ to mean something is bad or stupid, it is hurtful.”

Educators should familiarize themselves with this handout, and consider printing it out and putting it in plan books for quick reference. As with any new skill, practice makes perfect. Educators should consider rehearsing their responses and role-playing with colleagues (encourage them to push back!) at a staff meeting to develop the competence and confidence to handle anti-LGBTQ comments appropriately.

Knowing what to say when someone uses “gay” as a putdown is an essential skill -- not just for educators, but for everyone as they cultivate respectful spaces in homes, workplaces and communities across the country.

Learn more about creating safe, welcoming schools here.

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