“No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses” by Stephen Lane— Protecting LGBTQ Youth in School

Lane, Stephen. “No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses”, ForeEdge, 2018.

Protecting LGBTQ Youth In School

Amos Lassen

As we know all too well, school can be a nightmare for LGBTQ youth, who are often targets of verbal or physical harassment and they do not have anywhere to turn for support. “No Sanctuary” shares the inspiring story of a mostly unseen rescue attempt by a small group of teachers who led the push to make schools safer for these students. Their efforts became the blueprint for Massachusetts’s education policy and a nationwide movement, resulting in one of the most successful and far-reaching school reform efforts in recent times. Stephen Lane looks at these critical series of reforms and places the Safe Schools movement within the context of the larger gay rights movement. He also highlights its key role in fostering greater acceptance of LGBTQ individuals throughout society.

This is a detailed account of how LGBTQ and progressive teachers, along with students, organized and fought to defend the rights and safety of LGBTQ students. Lane gives us a century-long historical overview of sex panics, educational theory, sexology, attitudes about youth, and gender myths as well as accounts of on-the-ground organizing in schools across the nation. The book captures how a bottom-up policy change progresses “in bite-sized increments in a political arena to achieve safety and equity for both teachers and students.” 

This is the largely untold story of how courageous public and private school educators and students both paved the way and fought to support and protect LGBTQ youth in schools. We clearly see how students and teachers can use their voices and leadership “to personalize and frame an issue, educate administrators and those in power, and ultimately effect policy, culture, and large-scale change, not only in schools, but also in society.”

Here is a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Path to Reform
  • Out of the Shadows and into Parades
  • Fears of a Petticoat Regime: Character and Education in the United States
  • Postwar Hysteria: The Red Menace and Lavender Lads
  • Oranges, Banana Cream, and Beauty Queens: The Fight over Gay Teachers Comes out of the Closet
  • Homosexuality Enters the Classroom: Shining a Light on the Problem
  • Reforms Go Public
  • Pulpits, Pink Triangles, and Basement Meetings: Private Schools Join the Movement
  • Teaching, Learning, and Moving up the Hierarchy: School Leadership Joins the Movement
  • Promises, Promises: The Movement Goes Political
  • An Enormous Pressure to Succeed: From Promises, Promises to a Statewide Policy
  • The Massachusetts Model Goes Nationwide
  • Now What?
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Index

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