Children are multifaceted like a prism. They all deserve an education that reflects their unique identities.
Students of color, those from low-income areas, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ face oppression based on their multiple identities. Teach For America is committed to safety, fairness, and dignity for all students. That’s why we’re taking a stand.
Our LGBTQ+ Community Initiative aims to create a more intersectional movement to end educational inequity by encouraging more LGBTQ+ leaders to teach.
Inclusiveness at the Heart of Our Work
In 2018, Teach For America’s LGBTQ+ Community Initiative added the plus (+) in our name in order to ensure that we will always be inclusive of the identities, both known and emerging, that define our dynamic and evolving community.
LGBTQ+ students surveyed say they’ve been verbally harassed at school.
The dropout rate for LGBTQ+ youth is three times the national average.
LGBTQ+ students in schools with an inclusive curriculum said their peers were accepting of LGBTQ+ people, compared to 39.6% of those without an inclusive curriculum.
LGBTQ+ students with supportive staff at their school felt unsafe, compared to 78.7% of LGBTQ+ students with no supportive school staff.
LGBTQ+ Education Summits
In partnership with regional and national partner organizations, the LGBTQ+ Education Summits offer corps members and alumni the opportunity to engage in learning and development, and receive resources to support LGBTQ+ students and educators.
Summits are held annually in regions across the country and are open to all LGBTQ+ and allied corps members, alumni, staff, partners, and students. Summit attendees make recommendations for teacher preparation, student support, school culture, policy, and more.
Submit a Workshop Proposal
Each summit traditionally includes LGBTQ+-inclusive professional development, community engagement, social networking, and brave testimonies. Leadership development workshops aligned with these tracks are accepted:
- Direct student support
- Family and community
- Policy and advocacy
- School culture and climate
- Teacher leadership development
If you or anyone in your network is interested in designing and facilitating a workshop at one of our LGBTQ+ Education Summits, please complete this form.
Join a PRISM Learning Community
Our PRISM coalition is a network of LGBTQ+ support groups in each of Teach For America's regions. The PRISM coalition mobilizes TFA alumni leaders, staff members, teachers, and community members to support LGBTQ+ students and educators as we collectively work toward educational equity.
Summit participants who are interested in launching a PRISM coalition in their region can sign-up for this intensive workshop, which will be held at each summit.
Resources for Educators
- Comprehensive resource guide that includes interviews with researchers in the field, as well as information about scholarships available for LGBTQ+ students.
- Campus Pride College Fair Program: A national LGBTQ+ College Fair Program hosted once a year online and in 8-10 different cities across the U.S. The program is designed to address the concerns of LGBTQ and ally students related to academics, student life, and campus safety.
- Campus Pride Index: An assessment tool for campuses looking for ways to improve LGBTQ+ campus life.
- Camp Pride: A summer LGBTQ+ Youth Leadership Academy to build leadership capacity among LGBTQ+ and ally undergraduate student leaders and create safer, more inclusive campus communities.
- Advisor Bootcamp: An LGBTQ+ Professional Academy for Advisors to expand knowledge, enhance skills, and collaborate with others who share passion for creating safer, more welcoming communities.
- Campus Pride LGBTQ+ Scholarship Database: A database of LGBTQ+ scholarships available across the United States.
- Campus Pride Map: A database of LGBTQ+ student groups, support services, and resources at colleges and universities across the United States.
Employment protections for LGBTQ+ teachers in our partner regions vary. View state laws and protections for more information about the legal landscape in our regions.
Please know that while there is no federal law that protects LGBTQ+ individuals from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, many of our regions are in states that have passed laws to include protections for these identities. Applicants who are concerned about employment protections should note their preferences in “special circumstances” when applying. This request will be honored to the best of our ability.
It is important to recognize that the presence of legal protections for LGBTQ+ people does not guarantee a culture of acceptance within a region and vice versa. Especially in regions where these protections do not exist, corps members have had positive experiences. LGBTQ+ teachers can make an impact in regions not traditionally associated with being LGBTQ+-friendly, especially given these are often the areas where LGBTQ+ students most need advocates and allies. If you are willing to advocate for an inclusive learning environment in any setting, we encourage you to mobilize and fight for the students and communities we serve.
Information on establishing and operating a gay-straight alliance in your school.
Guide to working with LGBTQ+ students of color.
Toolkit for elementary educators to help students feel safe and develop respectful behaviors and attitudes.
Kit to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth in secondary schools.
Report on the experiences of LGBTQ+ students living in rural areas.
Our PRISM coalitions are a network of LGBTQ+ support groups that rally Teach For America alumni leaders, staff members, teachers, and community members together to support LGBTQ+ students and educators as we collectively work toward educational equity.
There are currently nearly a dozen PRISM coalitions based in Teach For America’s regions across the country. Members of each coalition advocate for and engage people who identify as LGBTQ+ in ways that best match the unique needs and complexities of their local communities.
View a list of regions with PRISM coalitions.
Many regions are in the process of forming a PRISM coalition and may still offer opportunities to get involved with advocating for LGBTQ+ initiatives, even if their local coalition is still emerging. Contact the regional staff point person to learn more about opportunities in each region.
"Moonlight" Educator's Toolkit
Teach For America’s LGBTQ+ Community Initiative had the opportunity to collaborate with President Obama’s White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans and A24 Films in 2016. We worked to produce a comprehensive educator's toolkit guided by the 2017 Academy Awards Best Picture, “Moonlight.”
Senior Managing Director, LGBTQ+ Community Initiative
Teach For America
Tim'm plays an integral role in Teach For America's ever-expanding organizational effort to eliminate educational inequity through developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the LGBTQ community.