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 March 27, 2015
Milwaukee's Chalice in the Palace breathes some life into the city's wanting reggae music scene with regular record spins featuring a wide variety of Jamaican sounds at area clubs.
Published March 26, 2015
I was a little disappointed the first time I stepped into Henry Koch's 1870 Calvary Presbyterian Church - that soaring red building on 10th and Wisconsin. The sanctuary has been completed remodeled and modernized. The pews are gone, replaced by stacks of movable chairs. The wooden chancel isn't ornately adorned as one might expect in a 150-year-old church, and the new hardwood floors gleam rather than creak with accumulated history. But, then, Pastor Mark McDonough converted me.
Published March 25, 2015
In all of the discussions of the siting of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, the discussion has been about connecting to Wisconsin Avenue and points south of the current Bradley Center. But, let's not ignore the other side.
Published March 25, 2015
In recent years, Milwaukee Public Library has been building for the future, replacing aged branches with mixed-use developments that ensure the libraries will be community fixtures for years to come. For its next project, MPL is moving the Forest Home branch into the future by reviving an old South Side neighborhood gem.
Published March 20, 2015
Scattered around the Milwaukee area are roughly two dozen eye-catching stone cottages that look like they could've been moved from Normandy. But, you might be surprised to learn they were designed by a New York architect who also designed the Big Apple's Singer Building, a 47-story skyscraper that was, for three years, the tallest building in the world.
Published March 18, 2015
Old newspaper ads for Milwaukee clubs open a world of unwritten history.
Published March 18, 2015
Dosing its rootsy rock and roll with a shot of country and etheral, melodic pop Milwaukee's Great Lake Drifters have created a sound that is difficult to pin down. With a brand new CD, " Radio Picture Show," the band takes part in this weekend's Equinox Music Festival at Linneman's in Riverwest. We chatted with a couple of the band's members about GLD, about "Radio Picture Show" and about Equinox.
Published March 17, 2015
Nine unforgettable places to rent some shoes in Brew City.
Published March 16, 2015
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver is one of nearly a dozen leaders of urban school districts headed to the White House this morning to meet with President Barack Obama as part of the Council of the Great City Schools' three-day annual legislative/policy conference in Washington.
Published March 13, 2015
Writing these past two weeks about disappeared Milwaukee rock clubs and Downtown in the 1980s has me a little bleary eyed with nostalgia. And my Milwaukee reminiscences almost always lead straight back to one building in Walker's Point.