If you are a teacher, lecturer, tutor or support staff in an educational setting, you will come across students and colleagues that identify as LGBT+
Here are some thoughts on the intersection of education and self identifying as LGBT+
- If you are a tutor for sex education, ensure that you use non-gendered language, or actively refer to same-sex partnerships during classes. Positively reinforce that gay, lesbian, bisexual and Trans* relationships are as socially acceptable now as those between men and women. There will likely be someone in your class that identifies as LGBT and has not yet disclosed to anyone. Consider demonstrating dental dams alongside condoms.
- As a teacher, support staff, tutor or lecturer, someone may come to you and disclose that they identify as LGBT. Ensure that you are familiar with your organisations policies regarding confidentiality, safeguarding and disclosure. You may be the only person that they have ever told.
- The recent UK Parliamentary Transgender Equality report (2015) found that 50% of young people who self-identified as Transgender reported that they had attempted suicide. (page 7, UK Parliamentary Transgender Equality report (2015)
- In 2012, the Family Acceptance Project of the effect of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of LGBT young people, including suicide, HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Their research showed that LGBT young people “who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence (when compared with those young people who experienced little or no rejection from parents and caregivers) were more than eight times likely to have attempted suicide, more than six times likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times likely to use illegal drugs and more than three times likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STIs” by the time they reach their early 20s. (2012 Family Acceptance Project Study Helping LGBT youth, others learn to cope, April 27, 2012, Visalia Times-Delta)
- Consider the cases of Karis Anne Ross, Lucy Meadows, and Emma Baldry
- Be mindful of the language you use. For example, working within an all-boys school and saying to your students ‘When you all get girlfriends’. There will likely be someone in your class who identifies as GB or T, who will understand your comment to mean that they are different and not accepted.
- The education act changed last year to talk about ‘different families’ try to include all LGBT+ families and not just same sex families
Don’t forget that we’re right here to answer any questions that you may have about anything LGBT+. We understand that time is precious for you, you are welcome to e-mail, phone or come and see us, whether it’s a single question, to refer someone to our services, or to discuss LGBT+ awareness training for your institution. Just let us know what we can do to help.
And don’t forget our Schools Resource- Kings, Ducks, Princesses and Penguins