Preparing Special Education Teachers to Affirm LGBTQ+ Students and Themselves


  • Bryan E. Cichy-Parker Pacific University



Teacher preparation, LGBTQ Students, LGBTQ Preservice Teachers


Within their work, special education teachers are tasked with being knowledgeable on a wide array of human diversity. Although attitudes have been changing rapidly toward sexual and gender minorities in recent years, data from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) most recent National School Climate Survey indicated that 52.4% of students reported hearing homophobic remarks and 66.7% of students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from their teachers or other school staff (Kosciw et al., 2020). This article identifies three areas in which special education teacher educators can interact with their teacher candidates to support learning about the LGBTQ+ community and equip them to work with their future students who identify as a sexual or gender minority. Techniques included address the use of qualitative assessment through discussion and journaling; building cultural empathy via affective learning, perspective taking, acceptance of cultural differences, awareness, and appropriate responding via an understanding of intersectionality and intention versus impact.






Special Issue on Diversity Equity and Inclusion