He's an expert in adolescent identity development, focusing on LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) students. For the book, Sadowski talked to educators around the U.S. to find out how they're integrating LGBTQ-inclusive policies into the curricula and cultures of their schools.
In doing so, Sadowski criticizes strategies that aim for safety as their end goal. Safety is an important goal, he writes— "a critical baseline from which all subsequent work must follow."
But, he tells NPR, "would we accept safety as the one and only goal for any other population of students? Why do LGBTQ kids have to settle for safety as the only thing they can expect from the adults who run their schools?"
Here's our Q&A with Sadowski, edited for length.
Note: NPR normally uses the acronym LGBT to refer to "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" persons. Sadowski adds a "Q" for "queer." We're doing that as well for this report.
You raise a critical question about "safe spaces" in schools such as those labeled by stickers and posters: "If a certain place in the school is designated as a safe space, what does that say about the rest of the building?"
We're in a different political reality than we were in the 1980s and '90s. I think there are many educators out there now who want to make their schools not just safe, but affirming and empowering for their LGBTQ students. They just don't know where to start. The amazing teachers, administrators, counselors, and kids I met while researching the book show how a lot of people are already For LGBTQ Students, Author Says, Safety Is 'Not Enough' : NPR Ed : NPR: