The ABC’s of Creating the LGBTQ-Friendly Classroom

The ABC’s of Creating the LGBTQ-Friendly Classroom

ABSTRACT: In an interesting article on the historical assumptions that music roles are defined by human sexuality – i.e. “sopranos versus tenors”, Stephen Paparo, Ph.D. lays out several suggestions for creating LGBTQ+ classrooms that apply to music/vocal education, but also go well beyond this. The article focuses mainly on how gender is perceived in the vocal arts, and how to create a nurturing environment for all students including LGBTQ+ students with a checklist of suggestions and resources. Among the more interesting entries in his “ABC’s” list is this notion of focusing on functional groups, rather than men and women or what’s historically been thought of as gender-specific roles. This seems have the added bonus of making music more age inclusive, especially for younger boys participating in choirs, for example.

More broadly, Dr. Paparo provides several general suggestions for creating a safe and productive classroom, including facilitating discussions among choir students about their musical ranges and preferred comfort zone for performing. Also, being mindful of students nicknames, which is an increasingly common way of students expressing their identity in way most comfortable to them.

Finally, Dr. Paparo provides suggested resources, including Sage Space stickers and materials from the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network (

REVIEWER: Peter Gerlings

AUTHOR SUMMARY: Stephen A. Paparo, Ph.D.