Milwaukee-based Rethinking Schools, a national social justice magazine for educators, recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowd-fund a new book called "Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexuality," due for 2015 publication.
With five days of the campaign remaining, the project has already raised more than $15,000 of the $20,000 goal.
Through essays from a range of contributors, the book discusses creating safe and nurturing classrooms, coming out at school as a teacher or student, integrating feminist and LGBTQ content into curriculum, moving beyond the classroom to school and community, and teacher education.
According to the project's Indiegogo page, "â€˜Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexualityâ€™ was born a few summers ago when Jody Sokolower, Rethinking Schoolsâ€™ managing editor, and RS editor Melissa Bollow Tempel sat down in Jodyâ€™s kitchen to discuss an article Melissa was writing. â€˜It's OK to Be Neitherâ€™ is the story of Melissaâ€™s growth as a teacher when Allie, a student who is gender non-conforming, joined her class. Until then, Melissa had not realized how customs like lining up by girls and boys could create problems for students who do not fit neatly into the female/male binary.
"â€˜It's OK to Be Neitherâ€™ really struck a chord. As Melissa tells it, â€˜We never dreamed it would be shared more than 45,000 times on one blog alone.â€™ Allie is not unique. Gender nonconforming kids are in schools everywhere, and teachers want to know how to support them."
Tempel, who comes from a family of educators and is an MPS teacher, says her experiences demonstrated to her the need for a book like "Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexuality," on which sheâ€™s collaborating with UWM Peck School of the Arts associate dean Kim Cosier.
"Through my work in MPS I noticed that there is a big lack of understanding in teachers," she says. "Many of them don't agree with â€˜that way of lifeâ€™ and don't realize that it creates a space that is harmful to students. Kids that don't feel safe or accepted at school don't feel like learning. Students who are questioning or insecure don't feel safe and therefore can't learn. Just because you don't support LGBT issues doesn't mean you can exclude those students from your classroom community and your teaching."
"Just today I heard that an administrator in a middle school was informed that a girl was being bullied. That girl had a different style of dress and hair. The administrator told the concerned that the student was asking for it by the way she dressed. This is unfortunate but not surprising."
"On the other hand, many other teachers are supportive of different families and want to be there for the students but don't know how much they can talk about in school or how they can speak out for their students. These teachers need to know that they can support their students and welcome those families into their schools."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published April 30, 2016
After a long hiatus from making music full-time, Carter Hunnicutt (of Those XCleavers and Flat Rabbits) is back in the game. He releases a six-track CD, "Dangerous World," at Circle A Cafe in Riverwest on Sunday, May 22. We got him talking...
Published April 28, 2016
We are deep into spring now, whether or not the weather is playing along, and being Milwaukeeans we can't wait to get outside and enjoy the fun months. Here are seven postcard images showing our forefathers letting loose in old Milwaukee...
Published April 27, 2016
Last year, the city approved a plan by Maures Development Group to redevelop a set of buildings, including the Henry Koch-designed former Garfield Avenue School, into mixed-income housing, a new America's Black Holocaust Museum and more. What's up?
Published April 26, 2016
Musician Gary Myers spent a number of years playing in many Milwaukee clubs with his bands The Night Beats, The Darnells and The Cashmeres (Mojo Men, later The Portraits). Fortunately, he also took photographs of the places where he performed.
Published April 25, 2016
The timing of a couple press releases today brings up the question of whether or not the images showing a revamped The Shops of Grand Avenue embrace diversity.
Published April 25, 2016
After putting together a design team to look at ways to transform The Shops of Grand Avenue, the property's owners today released a series of renderings showing ways the mall could be converted into a mix of large office spaces, retail - including a grocery store - and more.
Published April 21, 2016
Shortly after Prince's sudden and tragic death early this afternoon, OnMilwaukee met up with Victor DeLorenzo, who had a fun story and a few thoughts to share about the late musical icon.
Published April 21, 2016
While the site of the new Downtown Transit Center - at Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive - had previously been a surface parking lot, some skeptical Milwaukeeans thought a bus depot was ill-suited to Milwaukee's lakefront. Now, it's about to disappear.
Published April 20, 2016
There are eight MPS high schools that rank in the top 32 of Wisconsin high schools, according to U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post.
Published April 19, 2016
The drawings Milwaukee landscape architect Annette Hoyt Flanders created for the Maryland Avenue School are works of art. What became of these plans and the roughly three-acre site on the city's East Side?