Human Centered Design ········· 2020

Askin’ all the questions
How might we implement inclusive queer education at home, starting at an early age?

In many places, there is a lack of acceptance for those that fall outside of society’s definition of “normal”. Wanting to combat this issue, my group

members and I are working to develop a solution for this problem here in Northwest Arkansas. While this is a much larger, complex issue, we attempt to chip away at these preconceived notions that are passed around in our society.

In order to get a better understanding of the issue at hand and those who are affected by it, we conducted interviews with various individuals. Whether the subjects are aware of it or not, our topic plays a part in just about everyone’s life. With an estimated 10 million Americans identifying as LGBTQ+ (from 2017 - this number has likely increased), the chances of knowing or just interacting with a queer individual are high.

We chose participants based on an audience receptivity gradient. This gradient, similar to the extremes and mainstreams graph, places people in categories based on where they stand on a topic at the moment. 

Key insights from our conversations:
  • Privilege plays a large role in the importance of this issue. This issue doesn’t come up on a daily basis for this family, therefore they feel less of a need to push inclusive education with their children.
  • “Kids are like sponges. They believe anything we tell them. If we were to say a group of people were less than us, they would absolutely believe it.”
  • There are multiple different approaches to childhood development and how we understand that time of life
  • “I’m pretty critical of traditional developmental perspectives - some people say it's anti-developmental. Our work exists because of development, it has a place in the world because of that theory, but I’m critical of those perspectives and how they position children. Children come from different backgrounds, and the development milestones theory limit them”

Without these conversations, we wouldn’t be able to design a solution that benefitted as many people as possible. People with varying experiences are bound to have different needs and we must exhaust all possible resources to have an adequate understanding of the problems needing to be solved and how to begin that process.