Serio Brings LGBTQ+ Inclusivity to Campus

Danielle+Serio+poses+in+front+of+a+section+of+her+LGBTQ%2B+library+of+books+she+is+curating.+Serio+hopes+to+make+LGBTQ%2B+members+at+school+feel+more+included+by+having+this+library+and+by+distributing+various+LGBTQ%2B+flags+to+teachers+around+teachers.

Ella Villar

Danielle Serio poses in front of a section of her LGBTQ+ library of books she is curating. Serio hopes to make LGBTQ+ members at school feel more included by having this library and by distributing various LGBTQ+ flags to teachers around teachers.

Kate Meyers, News Editor

Danielle Serio, AP Lang and English lll teacher, recently earned her masters degree in Education and Administration through Concordia University, and is using it to help make SJHHS a better place for LGBTQ+ students. 

To finish getting her Masters, Serio focused in on an aspect of school she was very passionate about. “The focus of my masters was in LGBTQ+ student help and intervention. The project I did was interested in what teachers could be doing in their classrooms on a daily basis to be more welcoming and accommodating towards LGBTQ+ students, and increase empathy from non LGBTQ+ students,” said Serio. 

Serio has begun to meet with other teachers and staff, and teach them how they can be more inclusive and sensitive towards LGBTQ+ students, so that they feel safe and welcome  within their school community. 

“I’ve been able to offer some options to teachers to make small changes in their classrooms, so even though there aren’t sweeping district changes, individual teachers have been deciding to make changes, which is exciting,” said Serio. 

I really care about my students and I want to make their lives a little bit easier, because I know not every adult is super understanding and accommodating. It’s really nice to find something that matters so much to me, I love being that person.”

— Danielle Serio

A unique way Serio has made her classroom more inclusive is her LGBTQ+ library, which is a collection of books about LGBTQ+ history, books with queer protagonists, or nonfiction and self help titles. The library is open to any student who wants to come read one of these books.

“This is an expensive thing, so we’ve been spending a lot of time applying for grants and asking for money from the community. Slowly but surely, we have a pretty good sized library, in the 100 to 110 book range,” said Serio. 

The library has heavily impacted students. Particularly, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, as it is a young adult novel, and it is the most popular book in Serio’s library. 

“LGBT literature tends to be depressing and sad, and this one’s just a cute fluffy book that happens to be gay. Kids tell me these books impact them the most because they’re seeing people like themselves being happy, in stories that aren’t tragic. I think it’s really nice to see your life not end in tragedy,” said Serio. 

Serio’s personal favorite from her library is a book called And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. “It’s a super heartwarming and true story about two male penguins in the zoo who were in love, and the zookeepers realized they were trying to raise rocks and be like all the other penguins, so they found an abandoned egg and gave it to this same sex penguin couple. It’s a story about their family,” said Serio. 

Some books Serio recommends to people new to the LGBTQ+ community or anyone who aspires to understand people better is This Book is Gay which helps with talking to parents and figuring out labels, or An Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns which educates about gender identities, and the way to be respectful of people’s gender. 

Building this library was a part of the Queer Alliance Club, which Serio is the advisor for.

 “Being a part of Queer Alliance has given me a lot of purpose as an educator, I really care about my students and I want to make their lives a little bit easier, because I know not every adult is super understanding and accommodating,” said Serio, “it’s really nice to find something that matters so much to me, I love being that person.”