The Need for Inclusion
LGBT+ Inclusive Education
We live in a very diverse society. In order to prepare our young people to live and work in our society it is important that their education reflects its diversity. It is very difficult to teach young people to treat people of different race, ethnicity, faith, sexuality, gender identity, etc. equally and respectfully if we are not teaching them about the different identities people may have.
A study conducted by Stonewall, which surveyed the experiences of 3,700 LGBT+ young people across Britain’s schools, found that nearly half of LGBT+ young people are bullied by other students with LGBTphobic views, and around half of the respondents also reported that they hear homophobic and transphobic language ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school. A positive, LGBT+ inclusive education can help to proactively tackle discrimination towards LGBT+ people and help to foster good relations between those who are LGBT+ and those who are not.
For your students who identify as LGBT+, it is important that they see themselves reflected in their education. Raising the visibility of LGBT+ people, beyond those that can be found in the entertainment industry, could prove to be useful in raising aspirations. LGBT+ young people may wish to become mathematicians like Alan Turing, doctors like Rachel Levine, poets like Jackie Kay, politicians like Mhairi Black, astronauts like Sally Ride or athletes like Colin Jackson. As Geena Davis once said about representation (of women), “If she can see it, she can be it.”
You can find resources that will support you in planning and delivering an LGBT+ inclusive curriculum here.
If you would like to discover some LGBT+ icons to include in your teaching, you can find some here.
LGBT+ Inclusive Spaces
As we have described in the Coming Out section of this website, LGBT+ people do not just ‘come out’ once; LGBT+ people come out continuously throughout their lives as they meet new people. Most LGBT+ people are aware that some people are LGBTphobic and therefore some LGBT+ people choose to come out only when they feel safe to do so. Hiding a part of your identity can feel uncomfortable and like you are hiding a part of yourself or your true self. There is a variety of things you can do to indicate to LGBT+ people that you respect LGBT+ identities and that the space they have entered is LGBT+ positive. You can read more about the things you can do in Making Spaces Inclusive.