This student is tired of being told she’s lucky to live with the family to which she belongs

Dr Ebony Semple is a holder of the honourary degree, Doctor of Letters (Honours), Canada. She is the first black woman to hold that degree in Canadian history

As female, queer, non-binary, QUEER, historian, educator, law professor, author, philanthropist, and author of nearly 200 books, Dr Ebony Semple is a fierce advocate for many causes. But the Intersectional Justice Education Network, an Ontario-based group led by Semple, is currently working on a project to produce teaching resources for schools about pro-social and intersectional intersectional gender justice.

This winter, the organization will select 15 highly articulate, well-read Black students from secondary schools in Toronto for their project. The students will represent grades 11, 12 and 13. As the majority of those participating in this project are young Black women, I’m bringing their candid answers to this column. Their responses will be a welcome corrective to our current heterosexist cultural and historical dialogue, and will be worth the time and energy of our writers. If this is how others see us, we can only hope that we represent a brighter future.

Question: Do you think schools should teach STEM fields as a gender-neutral way of learning?

II: All math, science and engineering activities make learning about gender inequalities more inclusive of non-binary/trans people and friends who are different. I wish my school had taught me that . . . . .

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Question: What sources have most interested you in your studies?

2C per: (they only talk about them to explain and validate their experiences)

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Although their experiments and large scale testing indicate that girls are generally entering STEM fields, there is widespread study suggesting that women of color who identify with black feminism are largely absent from research that looks at that subjectively. That is despite the fact that women of color are a significant percentage of the general population and are at the core of many working-class and urban communities in many US cities. I feel that a collaborative conversation around the subject of gender biases and the inequalities they continue to cause in the STEM fields in many cities and organizations around the country may help empower young Black girls with the tools they need to engage fully in the fields.

Question: Do you think that STEM is a good way to teach subjects such as math and science?

Q: Yes.

Geometry and algebra are serious subjects and, they are, true, I am aware of the impacts of math and science on both black boys and girls. When math and science topics are held back in schools by predatory representations that seek to socialize impressionable young girls into being engaged in viewing math and science as something primarily solved through a male gaze, we do girls and boys a huge disservice. Incorporating feminist, trans- and queer-themed approaches to math and science education, I believe, can give young people much more free agency to challenge gender related stereotypes that unnecessarily limit their opportunities for higher education and careers.

Question: Do you think schools should introduce sex-ed curriculum on gender matters?

Women make up 37% of the Senate in the US and 28% of the US Congress, but they are outnumbered 64 to 4 by men in Congress.

Gender issues should be taught in classrooms. Parents should have the right to decide whether their children are being taught about gender-based discrimination and rights in the name of health care and education.

These things are important issues that have a huge impact on black families and children in the US.

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