Leading with Pride: Why LGBTQ+ Representation Matters
June is Pride Month, and this year we were inspired by a young person who is working to make the world a more inclusive and equitable place. Ose Arheghan, a 20-year-old student at Ohio State University, joined Tim and Nat for an interview in the latest episode of BrainPOP News: Pride 2021.
During high school, Ose understood the importance of creating a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students, and lobbied members of state government to increase funding for after-school activities: “I was talking to policymakers that were twice my age, three times my age, which was super-intimidating, but they really wanted to hear what I had to say,” Ose said.
At BrainPOP, we partner with educators and parents to empower kids to succeed and thrive in the classroom and beyond; that includes putting kids’ physical and psychological well-being front and center. Highlighting stories like Ose’s is so important for many reasons:
A 2019 GLSEN Report found that nearly 60 percent of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe at school, and more than 86 percent were harassed or assaulted. An inclusive curriculum sends the message that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. The report also found that LGBTQ+ students attending schools with an inclusive curriculum were less likely to miss school, performed better academically, and were more likely to continue their education beyond high school.
Representation matters, too. When kids see successful, positive role models whose experiences mirror their own, they feel less isolated and more hopeful about the future. And encountering people whose experiences differ from their own expands kids’ worldview and develops empathy.
Five states explicitly incorporate LGBTQ+ history and education into the curriculum. This may include highlighting individuals who made an indelible impact on the world, such as Harvey Milk, a civil rights leader and San Francisco city supervisor who worked tirelessly to combat homophobic laws, and Alan Turing, an English mathematician who led a team of top-notch code-breakers in unraveling the Enigma during WWII.
In Ose’s words, “For me, Pride is a time for celebration. It’s a time of acknowledging that LGBTQ people are diverse, and have contributed so much to our beautiful country […]. And it’s also a time to look back on our history as LGBTQ people and honor the folks who had it a little bit harder than us, but continued to fight to make the world better.”
Whether you’re having a classroom or family discussion, we invite you to make use of our Lesson Ideas, support resources that accompany each topic, to help add context and dimension to important conversations with your kids. Some of the most powerful learning moments can happen after a BrainPOP movie ends.
The BrainPOP Team