Who We Are

Housed in the CU-Boulder School of Education and led by Bethy Leonardi, PhD, and Sara Staley, PhD, A Queer Endeavor is a nationally recognized center for gender and sexual diversity in education. Our work supports teachers and school communities to organize safer, more humanizing learning environments for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and staff.. Meet Us here.

The work of A Queer Endeavor is made possible through a partnership between the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder and the generous support of the Twisted Foundation.


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Our Mission

Aiming toward creating schools that are safer and more affirming of LGBTQ+ and gender-expansive youth, A Queer Endeavor seeks partnerships with educators and school communities to make “unworkable” the silence that historically has surrounded topics of gender and sexual diversity in education.

A Queer Endeavor seeks to grow the knowledge base on gender and sexual diversity-affirming policies and practices in education, inform research and praxis, and engage in broad-based coalition building with a variety of community-based stakeholders.

What We Do

Our work with educators and school communities focuses on three key areas: 1) knowledge, 2) critical self-reflection and dialogue, and 3) action. Our goal is to support educators, school and district leaders, and parents and families learn about gender and sexual diversity and LGBTQ+-inclusive practices and locate entry points for taking action in their own unique contexts.

To create school cultures that are “safe” (as in, not dangerous) and affirming of gender and sexual diversity, we believe in going beyond anti-bullying measures. We bring attention to school policy, climate, curriculum, and social and cultural norms and practices. While our focus is on gender and sexual diversity, our commitments extend to issues of equity more broadly. Working toward liberation requires always looking through an intersectional lens and questioning how our practices reinforce harmful norms along lines of race, class, language, and other identifiers and their intersections. We are committed to doing that work.

Interested in Professional Development?

Click here to learn more about professional learning opportunities for your school, district, or university community.

Four Components of A Queer Endeavor

School of Education

Historically, schools of education have not supported teacher candidates to move into the field confidently prepared to affirm LGBTQ youth and to address gender and sexual diversity. In collaboration with our colleagues in the School of Education at CU Boulder, AQE has worked to integrate topics of gender and sexual diversity across program areas and teacher-preparation coursework. We believe that schools of education must play a central role in advancing the movement toward safer, more affirming schools.

Teacher Institutes

Given the shortage of LGBTQ-focused professional learning opportunities, AQE designed a professional development model for supporting educator learning of gender and sexual diversity. Organized as critical contexts of professional learning, our “Teacher Institutes” support local educators to develop habits of heart and mind necessary for creating safe, affirming spaces for all students and families.

Community Support

AQE aims to support school communities by providing professional development not only for teachers, but also for administrators, staff, and families. While we believe that providing support for teachers is critical, we advocate for a “whole community” model in which all stakeholders are supported and held accountable for creating safe, affirming schools.

Informing Research and Practice

AQE is committed to partnering with educators and school communities to generate knowledge of gender and sexual diversity-affirming practices in education that can inform local needs as well as research and praxis more broadly.