Comprehensive LGBTQIA+ resources for educators
Equity Corner by Michael Tapia
June 27, 2022
Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 12, 2019, AB 493, known as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act of 2019, was heralded as a critical piece of legislation for addressing the challenges that LGBTQIA+ students face in our Pre-K-12 schools and for having great potential for improving their experiences.
A key component of the law is training for teachers and other certificated staff at schools serving students in grades 7–12. In addition, the legislation required the California Department of Education to “develop resources or, as appropriate, update existing resources for in-service training … for the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) pupils and thereby improve overall climate.”
This bill, authored by Assemblymember Todd Gloria and co-sponsored by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Equality California, originally included a requirement for online training every two years for certificated staff, but that mandate was removed due to “budget concerns;” instead, training is encouraged.
So how does one access this valuable resource? Not hearing much about it or knowing where to find this information, I reached out to ACSA’s Governmental Relations staff. Thanks to ACSA Advocate Diana Vu, I was directed to the CDE website.
As a result of AB 493, here is what the CDE offers under the heading “Supporting LGBTQ+ Students”:
American Psychological Association: The Respect Online Course includes three self-paced modules for educators, school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers.
The Trevor Project/The Lifeguard Workshop: The site references The Lifeguard Workshop, a free online learning module for middle/high school classrooms, but I was unable to access it on the Trevor Project website; try or
California Health Education/Module One: Based on the Health Education Framework, guidance is provided for teachers of health education using Module One, creating safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments, including for LGBTQ+ youth.
Resources for schools
Curriculum Materials that are Inclusive of LGBTQ+ Youth: This includes California HSS and Health Education Frameworks and sections of each that are most relevant to LGBTQ+; supplemental curricular resources include materials from the California Healthy Kids Resource Center, Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group, Gender Spectrum, Teaching LGBTQ History, LGBTQ History Month in October, the ONE Archives Foundation, and many more.
Peer support or affinity clubs and organizations: For students, Genders and Sexualities Alliance and The Trevor Project are suggested; For educators, GLSEN, Kinder Future, Los Angeles LGBT Center – Community Action Network, Los Angeles LGBT Center - CAN Coalition, ONE Archives Foundation, and Teaching LGBTQ History are offered; a rationale for starting or maintaining a GSA at school is provided in this section, too.
Safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students: Three resources are offered here: the Los Angeles Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Center Out for Safe Schools; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Safe Space Kit; and Advocates for Youth and Girls Best Friend Foundation The Safe Space Toolkit.
Counseling services: These two resources are offered: California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions and the California Association of School Counselors’ Policy Statement on LGBTQ Youth.
Resources for families and communities by region
There are 11 state regions listed in this section; look for your county in this section then click on the region link to access the resources. For example, I live in Ventura County which is in Region 8, Costa Del Sur; 16 different resources include some from the Ventura County Office of Education, several Ventura County School Districts and a number of community organizations.
Statewide resources for families and communities
A link to counseling services and support groups for adults and youth around gender diversity (gender spectrum) is included here.
Laws and policies
Laws Related to Supporting LGBTQ+ Students: The FAIR Education Act, The California Healthy Youth Act and the School Success and Opportunity Act are cited here; a CDE Legal Advisory related to transgender youth in schools is included; an additional five policies related to supporting LGBTQ+ students are included.
Research, data and reports
In Reports and Papers, 15 organizations and entities are included; in Data, five entities are cited; in LGBTQ+ Students and Safety, four sources provide information; under Articles, both are provided by Gender Spectrum; About LGBTQ+ People in the United States provides some very interesting data related to LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S.
As you can see, as a result of AB 493, the CDE now offers a plethora of resources to help educators more equitably support our LGBTQIA+ students who attend our schools in California. Regarding the training for staff, a critical component of this legislation, I would propose that all site/district staff, whether they are certificated or classified, should participate in training from any of the organizations cited in Training or from many other qualified sources including others mentioned in this article. If you are still unsure or doubt the need to provide our LGBTQIA+ students more assistance, simply review some of the important findings in the Research, Data and Reports section; much of the data demonstrates the need for your immediate attention, concern and action!
Michael Tapia is a retired principal from Ventura.
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