Standing in Solidarity with LGBTQ+ Educators and Students

March 16, 2022
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Dr. Mayme Hostetter
Relay leadership

A community letter by Mayme Hostetter, President of Relay Graduate School of Education

As a kid in 1980’s Minnesota, I never learned about LGBTQ+ history or identity in school, unless you count playground slurs and a blacktop clobbering that sent me to the ER. I never even knew anyone who was out of the closet, let alone a fellow student or a treasured teacher. What a difference this would have made!

As an adult, I have–like many in the LGBTQ+ and Queer* community–been committed to existing, speaking, teaching, parenting, donating, dancing, and protesting to ensure that LGBTQ+ people all over this country are seen, valued, and supported. For the most part, it’s felt like a steady march toward progress, not just on LGBTQ+ rights, but on Queer awareness, acceptance, support, and celebration. The last few months have not felt like that.

Recently, we have seen a growing, hateful movement against the LGBTQ+ and Queer community, particularly with respect to kids, teachers, and schools. Most recently, Texas has sought to implement legislation that criminalizes gender-affirming care for trans kids, and just last week, the Florida legislature passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, banning instruction related to LGBTQ+ identity and history. This is a lot of hate to contend with.

In particular, targeting kids and teachers who identify as LGBTQ+ and Queer feels particularly vicious, but as we have for decades, the community is rallying. Last week, for example, students in Florida staged a massive walkout to protest the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Although we center race in the context of our DEIA development at Relay, it is critical to consider the role of intersectionality in student identity development - the need to provide safety, support, and an excellent, inclusive education for all children. At Relay, our move to culturally responsive teaching affirms full engagement in human identity development. We stand in solidarity with all marginalized groups- particularly the kids in those groups - regardless of the tenor of our times. May what we do everyday advance the cause of love and learning for all kids!

* A note on language: When I was a kid, “queer” was a slur. Younger generations of the LGBTQ+ community (and academia) have reclaimed the word “queer” as both a point of pride and a more inclusive description of our full community. I am all for pride and inclusion. In this piece, I use the two terms–LBGTQ+ and Queer–doubly and/or interchangeably, though they are not identical in denotation or connotation.


The following resources were curated by the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group at Relay, and are intended as a starting place for education and inspiration: 

Dr. Mayme Hostetter

Dr. Mayme Hostetter is the President of Relay Graduate School of Education. She started her career in education as an English teacher and coach, and has conducted reading development research at MIT and served as Dean of Relay NYC and National Dean before assuming the her current role. She serves on the boards of Deans for Impact and Cents Ability.