Document Type


Publication Date



It is important for language teachers to foster an environment in which all students feel safe, and while many of us think that we hold ourselves to this ideal, we may inadvertently be excluding students whose identity is not always visible. Whether we realize it or not, we very likely have students who identify as LGBTQ in our ESL classes. What are we doing to be considerate of their identity? When we present family vocabulary, do we provide language for same-sex partners? Do we allow for LGBTQ identities when we ask students to write or speak about their perfect boyfriend or girlfriend? Do our lessons on marriage or dating only use heterosexual examples? If so, we are excluding our LGBTQ students and may even be putting them in a position where they must choose to 'out' themselves or lie. In this hands-on workshop, participants will be asked to think about these questions and will discuss ways that we can be less heteronormative (presenting heterosexuality as the only option) in our language teaching. The workshop will begin with awareness-raising activities drawing attention to LGBTQ terminology and issues and will then review some of the research on LGBTQ issues in ESL. The last third will include a discussion on how to be more inclusive in our ESL teaching and will allow time for participants to share their ideas and questions. Participants will leave with a handout highlighting the main points of the workshop and a bibliography of sources for future reference.