Sexual Orientation Related Teaching Tips
- Assume that not all students in a class are heterosexual.
- React firmly to homophobic remarks made in class. Laughing them off in the hopes they will go away does not work. A "respect for your classmates" contract or class rule at the beginning of class helps.
- Give assignments that will not force gays or lesbians to describe their social life or to "come out" against their will.
- Use acceptable terms when speaking about gay and lesbian issues
- significant other or partner not boyfriend or girlfriend (this forces "coming out")
- sexual orientation not sexual preference (this implies people are gay just for the fun of it. Gay and lesbian people do not feel they have chosen this: this is who they are by nature).
- not lifestyle (again, this implies choice. As one man put it: "Living on a lake is a lifestyle, being gay is a life.")
- Do not assume that HIV positive people are all gay, or that only gay people engage in activities which put themselves and others at risk.