Riddle Scale (no joke)

Welcome to the letter “R” of our LGBTQ Resources A-Z! You haven’t heard of the Riddle Scale? No worries, not everyone has, let’s Relax, Rewind, and Review…again, see what I did there? I crack myself up! Even though this isn’t a riddle, ha ha!

Remember, I like to start with a definition, so here ya go. The Riddle scale was a psychometric scale that measured the degree to which a person is or is not homophobic. The scale was frequently used in tolerance education about anti-discriminatory attitudes regarding sexual orientation. It is named after its creator, psychologist Dorothy Riddle. Wikipedia


Isn’t it sad that I am measured by levels? Growing up, did your parents have the “talk” with you about being repulsed or nurtured? Mine sure didn’t with me. When a baby is born, the dreams are of course to be a happy and healthy baby. I know that my mom had dreams of me getting married (to a boy), giving her grandbabies, and probably to not be repulsed.

I did get married (to a girl) and my mom was there because my aunts and uncles are the best. I had written a letter to my father asking him to bring my mother, but, to no avail. My sister didn’t even come and that still hurts. I didn’t invite my brother (see past articles for why I didn’t). So, let’s do the math: Father = Repulsed (1), Brother = Repulsed (1), Sister Tolerated (3) but didn’t show up, and Mother = Supported (5). As you can see, no Admiration (6) , no Appreciation (7) , no Nurturance (8) . I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for me, but rather to explain why I advocate for those lower on the Riddle Scale. I have chosen my family as many LGBTQ people do. Let’s strive to support, admire, appreciate and ultimately nurture, shall we? Right?

Who was Dorothy Riddle? Great question. During the early 1970s, she was part of an American Psychological Association Task Force which was ultimately responsible for the official change in the status of homosexuality from a psychiatric disorder to a lifestyle. She also developed the Riddle Scale, a tool for measuring homophobia that is now being used to measure changes in a range of other social attitudes. I am including a picture of her and here is the link to more information about her. She looks like my cousin, Jane…really!

Hmm, so, 50 years ago as I was growing up in the 1970’s, I was a psychiatric disorder, now, I can hope for a Level (4) Acceptance. How about you?

Throughout my school counseling career, one of my favorite resources for social justice and equitable education was (and still is) Teaching Tolerance. Teaching Tolerance (Level 3) for those of you playing at home, is based out of Atlanta as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 to prevent the growth of hate. Here is a quote from their website: Tolerance is surely an imperfect term, yet the English language offers no single word that embraces the broad range of skills we need to live together peacefully. https://www.tolerance.org/about Resources below!


For my Wisconsin friends, Teaching Tolerance has a free DVD resource called “Bullied.” It is based upon the true story of Jaime Nobozny growing up in Ashland, Wisconsin. Jamie was severely bullied in middle and high school and the district did nothin to protect him. He sued the Ashland School District in 1996 and a jury awarded him $962,000 in damages. Right in our backyard…WOW! This case made national headlines and was a catalyst for new anti-LGBTQ bullying laws.

Our calls to action this week include:

Really, Thank you for Reading this article brought to you by the letter “R”

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Published by Lisa Koenecke

An award-winning motivational speaker looking to help you succeed! Lisa is a proven collaborative leader and systems change advocate. She grew up on a farm and spent 20 summers as a camp director for both the YMCA and the Girl Scouts. After receiving her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, she has been a middle and high school counselor for 12 years. She is the Past President of the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and has served on the American School Counselor Association Board of Directors. Currently, Lisa is an Adjunct Instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of counselors.

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