Hope In A Box is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that collaborates with New York State public schools to make educational environments more LGBT-inclusive.
LGBT people have played prominent roles throughout history and across cultures. Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Woolf and Wilde, Khalo and Eisenman, Bacon and Turing: LGBT people have been vital to human progress in every field.
However, in the US today, the vast majority of books, movies, magazines, and songs focus exclusively on heterosexual narratives. In schools, despite queer people’s role in history, LGBT narratives—or LGBT elements of narratives—are rarely discussed.
This lack of representation has proven consequences for LGBT youth. At school, 66% of LGBT students experience discrimination. One in ten have been threatened or injured with a weapon. Such victimization is linked to lower GPAs, graduation rates, and college matriculation.
Teachers are uniquely positioned to reverse these trends. According to the NIH, the typical age of coming out coincides with the developmental period in which students are particularly open to positive messaging. An inclusive classroom, a caring teacher, a relatable book can be life changing.