Teaching the Gay Student: Keep an Open Mind

I won’t make a secret of it, and many of you probably disagree with my stance on gays, but I honestly find nothing inappropriate or wrong about their lifestyle. Some of my best friends are gay, and I am completely supportive of them in every aspect of their lives.

That is why it is so heartbreaking for me to hear stories about gay students who are picked on, tormented and bullied for being gay. What makes me even more upset is that there always seems to be teachers who really just don’t seem to care for this student only because of their sexual preference. I firmly believe that all teachers need to keep an open mind in educating every student, not just gay students. However, teachers of gay students, especially teachers who disagree with the student being gay, need to remember some of these important facts before rushing to judgment of that student. Keeping gay students safe in school and helping them have a successful school career should be something every teacher strives for.

Something to keep in mind when educating a gay student:

There are no known causes for what sexual orientation someone is. Many gay students state that they realized at a very early age, sometimes as young as five, that they were attracted to other children of the same sex. There is research out there that states sexual orientation is often determined between birth and three years of age, but there is nothing proven yet. Therefore, for people to think that a gay person chooses to be gay isn’t a fact. I can honesty state that I am a heterosexual; not by choice, I just came that way!

The majority of child molesters are heterosexual men, not gay men or women. Evidently studies show that at least 90 percent of child molesters are straight men.

28 percent of gay or lesbian students have dropped out of school because of being harassed or bullied due to their sexual preferences.

80 percent of gay and lesbian students report that they have been isolated at school due to their sexual orientation.

97 percent of gay and lesbian students in public high schools report that they have heard or were present when a peer made a homophobic remark. 53 percent of these same students have reported hearing a staff member; whether it is a teacher or another school employee, make a homophobic remark.

These are just a few of the statistics surrounding the gay student. Why did I write this blog? Not to change people’s minds about their views on being gay, though I do hope that it causes some people to think, I wrote it because educators need to be reminded that all children, gay students included, deserve a free, safe and bully-free education. It is up to teachers to make sure that occurs regardless of what they believe to be right or wrong.