Young people spend a lot of their time at school so it is important that what they are taught reflects the beautiful diversity in the world we live in. This is especially true for your LGBTQ+ pupils because it sends a powerful and supportive message to them. Bearing this in mind, Beyond explores ways to build LGBT inclusivity in the classroom…
While the world has come a long way in supporting the LGBTQ community there is still room for improvement and it can start in the classroom! We own them to provide a curriculum that includes the themes, values and experiences of those who are part of the LGBTQ community.
In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month here’s 5 tips to build LGBTQ inclusivity in the classroom:
1. Celebrate difference
Gone are the times where being different is something to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, aspects of the LGBTQ community still remain to be hidden and uncelebrated. As educators we should share the importance of respecting the differences in ourselves and others around us in all ways that we can. Whether it’s through creating an inclusive vocabulary glossary will help LGBTQ pupils to feel included, class discussions, assemblies or classroom displays. Helping your pupils see the beauty in our differences is a great place to start!
2. Treat members of the LGBTQ community as whole multifaceted people
When exploring members of the LGBTQ community who are public figures or characters in literary texts it’s easy to minimise them to just their sexuality. Encourage your pupils to see them as whole people who have many different and amazing things going for themselves. Members of LGBTQ community have
values, traits, aspirations and hobbies just like everyone else. In addition to their gender and sexual orientation these things must be explored as well.
3. Don’t forget why it’s important
Encouraging your pupils to respect and support the diversity in the world can help reduce the inequality that occurs. LGBTQ individuals are part of every area of society but unfortunately some remain hidden. The only way to empower them is to embrace them by talking about LGBTQ issues so that we can begin to break down the prejudice they experience.
4. Centre Relationships instead of labels
There is a common misconception that discussing LGBTQ issues has to centre around sex. Due to society labelling LGBTQ individuals as sexually “deviant” the opportunity to discuss the many facets of sexual and gender identity is often lost. Explore a more expansive perspective of what it means to be LGBTQ in relationships. Help your pupils consider the complexity of love and attraction.
5. Don’t pressure LGBTQ pupils to explain everything
Whenever inclusive conversations are explored in class there is a tendency to target members of the community that is being discussed and expect them to speak up. Teachers should be aware that sexual and gender identity can be an immensely confusing thing to figure out. If a pupil is in that space they may not feel confident enough to speak on their personal experiences or on the behalf of an entire community. Let them volunteer so you’ll know they are happy to share. If they don’t volunteer, treat them like any other pupil. It’s not their responsibility to lead the discussion.
Representation in the classroom tells LGBTQ pupils they are seen, heard, loved and accepted. Building inclusivity in the classroom means that our pupils can feel supported and thrive in their education.
Looking for Resources that Promote Inclusivity in the Classroom?
LGBTQ+ Experiences in Literature
RSE at Beyond
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