Published: Nov. 2, 2022

A Queer Endeavor’s Approach to Professional Development

A Queer Endeavor builds partnerships with school communities to make “unworkable” the silence that surrounds topics of gender and sexual diversity in education. Drawing on critical, queer, and anti-oppressive perspectives, we design and facilitate professional learning experiences that engage teachers, counselors, school- and district-leaders, and youth-serving adults in knowledge-building, critical self-reflection, dialogue, action, and practice. 

In our sessions, we move beyond anti-bullying framings to raise educators’ awareness of how cis-heteronormativity functions in K-12 schools and negatively impacts LGBTQ+ youth. In fact, the professional learning that we offer is, more broadly, about questioning what counts as “normal”--that is to say, “common sense” in schools. When left unexamined and unchallenged, what counts as “normal” silences and dehumanizes certain identities, experiences, and ways of thinking and being in the world, while uplifting and privileging other identities, experiences, and ways of thinking as status quo, or what to strive for--namely, white, straight, cisgender, English-monolingual, and able-bodied (to name a few). 

Because what’s counted as normal has affected a range of students who have complex, intersectional identities, in our work, we recognize that identities never stand in isolation from others. This means that rather than examining aspects of identity and oppression in silos (e.g., race, then gender, then…), we engage a variety of themes and examine norms that surround race, gender, sexuality, social class, language, religion, dis/ability, and other social and identity markers in relation to those themes. Put another way, we trouble traditional ideas of diversity and inclusion in order to disrupt oppression in all its forms. Some themes might include: self, community, power, connection.

To learn more or to request a consultation, please visit our professional development page.

In 2022, we continued providing professional development opportunities for educators, working alongside schools and districts in Colorado and beyond. And, here’s what we continue to learn: this work is still challenging to do. Here in Colorado, we have laws and policies that not only support teachers to cultivate equitable and just learning communities, but that mandate, as Teacher Effectiveness Standard II states, that “teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.” Part of creating that environment involves including in curriculum communities and identities that have been historically absent. These include the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, LGBTQ+, and disability communities. 

With HB19-1192, Colorado has also become one of only  7 states to mandate that inclusion. And yet, even with legislation that supports creating humanizing education spaces, teachers, schools, and districts are receiving intense backlash, and they continue to need support. 

We invite you to take a few minutes to thank your teachers, your administrators, and all of your friends in education who are doing this work. Raise them up. Send them a note. Go to your local school board and let them know you support these laws and policies and the work they are doing for justice and equity in education. 

To learn more or to request a consultation, please visit our professional development page.