On Monday, Oct. 23, the Center for Student Involvement and A Queer Endeavor are co-hosting the on-campus screening and discussion about the path-breaking documentary, Reclaiming the Narrative: A Documentary About LGBTQ+ Students.
The film was locally produced by A Queer Endeavor, a nationally renowned center for gender and sexuality in education based in the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, in partnership with Denver Public Schools.
The film provides a level of depth that’s often missing from professional development opportunities focused on gender and sexual diversity, which tend to focus on foundations of learning—pronouns, inclusive vocabulary, and all-gender bathrooms. While those are incredibly important, there’s more that’s needed to support educators so that they can develop and nurture authentic relationships with these students.”
The on-campus screening will be followed by a talk back with film's producers Bethy Leonardi, co-founder of A Queer Endeavor and associate professor of education, and Levi Arithson, LGBTQ+ equity program manager for Denver Public Schools’ Culture, Equity and Leadership Team.
The film provides the foundation for a new professional development for educators, a central focus of A Queer Endeavor, which has worked with more than 15 school districts. In addition to providing educators with a deeper understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth, the film layers in perspectives from leading queer scholars in the field of education research.
“Stories of LGBTQ+ youth often feature damage-centered narratives, ignoring the systems that create the damage to begin with,” said Leonardi. “By focusing only on the damage, we miss the opportunity to understand the rich complexity of who these students are and what they need.
“In our view, the film provides a level of depth that’s often missing from professional development opportunities focused on gender and sexual diversity, which tend to focus on foundations of learning—pronouns, inclusive vocabulary, and all-gender bathrooms. While those are incredibly important, there’s more that’s needed to support educators so that they can develop and nurture authentic relationships with these students.”
Leonardi points to the depth and perspective that only the young people can provide.
As Maddie says in the film, “There’s a lot going on in the world. You can flip on the news and see on the news, like, ‘Oh, this law was just passed.’ And that's a lot for LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ youth. I think a lot of us need people to just listen and hear us.”
Attendees of the screening are invited to gather in community and to practice listening to what LGBTQ+ students need us to hear.
The on-campus screening will begin at 5 p.m. Seating is limited and registration is required at colorado.edu/involvement/dscc-events. A Queer Endeavor and the Center for Student Involvement, part of the Dennis Small Cultural Center, invites students, staff and faculty to attend the screening as a way to mark LGBTQ+ History Month.
For educators interested in learning more about the film or A Queer Endeavor’s partnerships and professional development opportunities, visit colorado.edu/center/a-queer-endeavor.