i* am pleased to announce a call for dialogue on how to make academia more welcoming and supportive for queer** students! if you are a faculty member wanting to know how to be a better ally, or a student wanting to help faculty become better allies, read on! and send us your questions/thoughts!
a while back on the twitter, i got in a conversation with gerty (@gertyz) of balanced instability about what folks in academia can do to be allies for the queer students in their midst, especially trans* folks***. we chatted for a while about things that profs/teachers/faculty/tas/etc. can do to help queer students feel welcome and comfortable in academia. but it became clear that we didn’t really have any idea of what we should be doing. we didn’t know what would help make other queer folks feel comfortable in any given academic setting. and yet, we’re in positions where we may be regularly interacting with other queer folks [often not even knowing so]…as advisors, professors, teachers, etc. and we want to make all environments as safe and affirming as possible.
and so we were left wondering how to go about this. how to try and make the academic environment better for queer students. how to be active allies.
gerty has talked a bit about allies in the DiS Blog Carnival earlier this year, and this issue came up when labroides asked what a new prof could do to create an environment that fostered diversity, so that ze**** could recruit and retain folks from different backgrounds into hir group. we, as the next generation of lab heads (academic and otherwise) want to make the science world more queer friendly. more inclusive and affirming.
and we recognize that addressing this issue fundamentally requires a dialogue between students and faculty. and we want to help foster that dialogue.
thus, we are announcing the
#alliesFTW q&a [allies for the win!] w00t!
queer students often have widely different classroom experiences that can vary based on their specific queer identity/expression, as well as and any other identities which might intersect with their queerness in the classroom. many young adults are coming out/identifying as queer while in college, and so the classroom and other academic settings are important places to make as welcoming and affirming as possible.
we are hosting a blog q&a to discuss the issues that queer students have in academia, and to try to figure out what those of us in a role of professor/teacher can do to foster an environment that allows our queer students to thrive. since every student and environment is different, we hope that we can get a diverse group of folks both asking questions and contributing answers. so here’s the plan: over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be asking for you to submit questions for the q&a carnival. if you are a teacher/prof, what questions do you have about how to be a super ally? if you are a queer student, what do you wish the teacher/prof would take into consideration? submit your answers in the comments section here or on gerty’s blog, or email your responses to me (josephlsimonis [at] gmail) or her (gmail at primaryinvestigator). if you would like to remain anonymous we will strip your emails from any identifying information before posting questions on the blog. and if you are on twitter, join in with the hashtag #AlliesFTW.
we will collect question/comments until oct 19 or so. then we’ll put together the list of questions and post them on our respective blogs so that you can all chime in to give us a sense of which are the best ones to answer first. then we will try to address each question/comment on the blog. we can only speak from our personal experiences, so the hope is that we will spark a good discussion that includes and reflects the spectrum of experiences. we will try to keep the series going as long as progress is being made. In the end we can all be better allies!
allies for the win!
*yes, it’s true, i don’t use capital letters [or do so v. sparingly] when i blog. i have many reasons for that. if you can’t handle it, my apologies, but i’m not changing my style. perhaps check out gerty’s announcement post if you really can’t make it through this.
**by queer, we mean anyone who falls under the broad lgbtqgqia+ or “gender and sexual minority” banners
***the trans* notation, with asterisk, is a way to note that for some folks, gender is not necessarily a binary of just “boys” and “girls”
****using a gender-neutral pronoun, since i don’t know this person’s gender!