Kids Need LGBTQ Books in Schools
Author: Tamika Butler
March 20, 2017
As a black queer kid growing up in Nebraska, when I was isolated and felt like no one was like me or understood me, I turned to books. In books, I felt my experience was reflected, celebrated, and valued. Lambda Literary is an organization that provides this reflection, celebration, and validation to so many readers and writers of all ages. Especially important today is Lambda Literary’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools, a program I wish I had when I was younger and that I hope you’ll support today.
Now, as voices are being silenced and identities are being devalued, this work in schools matters more than ever. Just last month the Trump administration rescinded protections for transgender students in public schools. The most vulnerable among us urgently need our support. Books like George by Alex Gino, I Am J by Cris Beam, and 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert make a profound difference to students.
These books save lives.
Lambda’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools program introduces lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature to K-12 classrooms for in person visits throughout New York City, and to classrooms nationwide via video Skype. The program inspires rich conversations about queer stories between authors, students and teachers, and encourages diversity and openness not only in the students’ lives, but also in society at large.
This year the program is featuring incredibly talented authors including Chinelo Okparanta, Naomi Jackson, Laurent Linn, Garrard Conley, Cris Beam, Ariel Schrag, Alex Gino and many others to visit students and discuss their work.
As part of Lambda Literary’s broad efforts to promote LGBTQ literature through queer-specific awards, residencies, festivals and books reviews, LGBTQ Writers in Schools is our most important foray into working with youth. In order for us to continue this work, we need your support to help expand the program to other districts around the country to reach as many schools, teachers and kids as possible.
LGBTQ literature should be represented as one voice among the many in any contemporary curriculum. The best way to help counter prejudice and bullying is through educating others.
Please support Lambda’s efforts to help achieve this goal by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Your donation helps pay for books that each student gets to bring home to add to their personal library. We offer participating authors honorariums that support them as working writers. Lambda also facilitates professional development training sessions for educators to promote best practices in their classrooms.
Lambda’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools program provides these kids a world of stories about people just like them. Lambda Literary helps students find community in a culture that is still too often hostile to their identities. Even in our small, isolated, Midwestern towns, it values their voices.
This work in schools matters more than ever and every donation, large and small, makes a difference to these students’ lives. It’s why I support Lambda Literary. Will you join me
WHAT STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND AUTHORS ARE SAYING
ABOUT LGBTQ WRITERS IN SCHOOLS
“LGBTQ Writers in Schools should be brought into schools because it helps children who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. see that there are other people just like them. It also removes criticism and ignorance toward the LGBT community.” –Yondry, 17 years old, Comprehensive Model School Project Middle School 327 (visit with Alexander London, author of Proxy)
“LGBTQ Writers in Schools needs to become an essential part of the NYC Department of Education’s core curriculum in middle and high schools. The Writers in Schools program has greatly impacted my students’ awareness of LGBTQ issues. It has also opened the minds of my students in terms of accepting all people for who they are.”
–Kaitlyn Ryan, teacher from Fanny Lou Hamer Middle School (visit with Alex Gino, author of George)
“LGBTQ Writers in Schools is important because it makes people feel and helps people who are LGBT or it can help people who are not LGBT to understand and accept.“- Amanda, 15 years old, Park East High School (visit with Bil Wright, author of Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy)
Lambda Literary would like to thank our 2017 Writers in Schools publishing partners HarperColins Publishers, Penguin Random House,
and Simon & Schuster.