California Educator

April/May 2023

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Page 32 of 61

Watch and Listen Videos of CTA's 2023 Human Rights Award winners feature the awardee talking about their work and what it means to them, their students and community. Watch the videos at Group photo caption from page 26: Back row, standing from left: Melissa Fitzgerald (ASTA [Anaheim Secondary Teachers Assn]), CTA Secretary-Treasurer Leslie Littman, Geoff Morganstern (ASTA), Ron Espiritu, CTA Vice Pres- ident David Goldberg, Grant Schuster (ASTA), Vanessa Yava, CTA President E. Toby Boyd; front row seated: Frank Palad Mata, Nalik Davis Jr., Skye Tooley, Gretel Rodriguez, Stacey Yakimowich Chavez, Jeanna Tang, Dr. Phe X Bach. Photo by Chris Robledo. Skye Tooley UTLA/NEA HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD FOR LGBTQ+ ADVOCACY IN HONOR OF NANCY BAILEY Skye Tooley, who goes by Mx. T with their stu- dents, has helped to achieve significant equity and equality for the LGBTQ+ community and in school. A teacher of 5th graders at Saturn Elementary, Tooley pushes to create safe and brave classroom spaces for students. They facilitate Saturn's "Rain- bow Club," which serves more than 20 gender non-conforming and/or queer students and is a space where children can be free to be themselves. "Putting out books, making space, having Rainbow Clubs — little things like that show my students and other teachers that this can be possible in Pre-K through 5th grade, and not just something for high or middle school," Tooley says. As a white, trans non-binary neurodivergent edu- cator, Tooley is an example to students and fellow teachers of being able to present as our authentic selves. This comes with great risk and vulnerability in our society. Their courageous navigation of the transphobic aspects of the public education system has allowed students who identify to see parts of themselves in Mx. T. As co-founder of "Growing Outside the Binary ", an educator duo committed to racial and social justice through liberatory teaching and learning practices, Tooley curates and creates resources on LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity in education. These texts, activities and movement connections provide more than 100 teachers with tools to help students feel seen, heard and understood at school. Tooley has worked to expand the definition of diversity both within and outside the community through centering BIPOC and neurodivergent LGBTQ+ voices, narratives, issues and movements in collective organizing efforts. They use their voice and efforts as a political activist to advocate for safety, inclusion and representation of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. 31 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 3

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