Slesaransky-Poe Gives Keynote at Family Matters Conference

By Purnell T. Cropper | December 18, 2012

Dr. Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Associate Professor, presented two sessions at the Family Matters Conference, organized by Philadelphia Family Pride, on Oct. 20 at Arcadia University.  The keynote presentation, “Partnering with Our Schools to Welcome Our Families,” discussed steps LGBTQ families could take to collaborate with their schools to create a welcoming, inclusive, and safe school for their children.

The second presentation “Welcoming ALL Families, ALL Students, ALL Educators,” which targeted educators was titled It created an opportunity for Arcadia education students, faculty, local K-12 educators and family members to begin a conversation guided by a spirit of understanding and respect on how to create welcoming, inclusive, safe, and affirming schools for gender nonconforming, transgender, and LGBTQ students, parents, and school personnel.

Slesaransky-Poe also presented two sessions at the National Association of Multicultural Education Annual Conference, which took place in Philadelphia. The theme of this year’s conference was “Realizing the Power of Movements through Multicultural Education. The first presentation was a one-hour session titled “What Do You Say to ‘That’s so gay!’ and Other Tools to Prevent Bullying and Embrace Diversity,” which focused on teaching strategies and a community-wide approach to create schools and communities who are welcoming and affirming of gender and sexual diversity, family composition, disabilities, and race. The second session was a three-hour workshop titled “Welcoming, LGBT Inclusive, Anti-Bias Schools as Movement Building.” Both were done in collaboration with Kim Westheimer, Director of Welcoming Schools, a program of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), and Dr. Vivian Carlo, Multicultural Education, Lesley University.

In terms of professional workshops, Slesaransky-Poe facilitated a conversation on Gender and Sexuality at the Bayard Rustin Symposium hosted by Friends Select School in Philadelphia to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Bayard Rustin, who is called the Unknown Hero of the Civil Rights movement by many. She also co-facilitated a Welcoming School workshop to the district of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas. The workshop geared to all elementary school counselors and school psychologists adressed how to create welcoming, safe, and affirming spaces for gender and sexually diverse students, families, and educators.

Slesaransky-Poe also submitted a blog entry to the Equity Alliance at the University of Arizona. The blog, titled “Embracing the whole child: From gender binary to gender continuum,” can be found online.

Her research efforts this fall included working on the final steps of the design of a groundbreaking longitudinal study to gather data on the social, emotional, psychological, and academic development of children and youths, ages 7 to 21, who are gender variant. After two years of designing the instruments, the Gender Research Team is getting ready to launch the study in early spring 2013. Along with Slesaransky-Poe, Rachael Jones ’12 (five-year Special Education student), and Drs. Edgardo Menvielle and John Strang, from Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., worked on this project.