Why should LGBTIQA+ issues matter in education?
If learners are not in an environment where they feel free to talk about their identities and personal lives, to develop friendships, to be their authentic selves and to make meaningful connections with their classmates and peers, then this is highly likely to hinder their learning experience and prevent them from achieving their full potential.
Research conducted by Stonewall in 2020 showed that anti-LGBT bullying, lack of support at home, and lack of visible role models, can have a devastating impact on LGBT young people’s mental health, leading many to being ‘shut out’ of higher education and work. The report finds that, once out of school and employment, LGBT young people are slipping through the gaps and can face significant obstacles in returning to those pathways. These issues can be aggravated for LGBTIQA+ learners who do not have support at home, or in the classroom.
The statistics speak for themselves.
Read Stonewall research
In June 2021, Just Like Us published new independent research on bullying and schools. They found that LGBT+ school pupils are twice as likely to have been bullied than their non-LGBT+ counterparts, and that 91% had heard negative language about being LGBT+ in the past year. It also found that 42% of LGBT+ school pupils have been bullied in the past year; double the number of non-LGBT+ pupils (21%).
Almost 1 in 5 (18%) LGBT+ pupils did not tell anyone they had been bullied, and just 21% told a teacher at school. Alarmingly, only 33% of LGBT+ pupils say there is a clear process for reporting anti-LGBT+ bullying in their school.
Learn more about Just Like Us
What strategies can we use to deal with issues of homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, interphobia and discriminatory behaviour in the classroom?
It is important to encourage learners to think about the impact of what they say, and how this might affect the recipient. Challenging discrimination is about developing learners’ abilities to express their opinions in non-offensive and more respectful ways. All opinions and views are valid if they are not harmful to others.
Educators needs support in fostering in-class environments that are:
- Bias aware
Educators should be supported to develop a range of skills, including critical thinking and analytical skills as well as linguistics skills, so that learners can respectfully express opinions. Educators should be able to elicit the difference between:
- An insult and an opinion
- Accepting and agreeing
- Normal and normative
- Religious teaching and personal interpretation
The ‘Diversifying your curriculum’ webinar is taking place at a particularly challenging time for LGBTIQA+ people across the world, many of whom have been hit hard by the pandemic. The Trevor Project reports that LGBTQI+ helplines are currently experiencing double their usual number of calls. Those who were already facing extreme challenges – living under anti-LGBTQI+ laws, facing violence, discrimination and/or eviction from their homes or countries because of their sexuality or gender identity – are now struggling to survive. At the same time, lockdowns were especially tough on LGBTIQA+ people trapped in homophobic and transphobic households.
Learn more about The Trevor Project
In addition to raising awareness about these issues, and their impact on LGBTIQA+ people’s lives, this webinar for teachers and leaders will offer useful tips and send out a positive message of compassion and inclusion. The event promises to provide the practical tools needed to educate and empower practitioners to not only ensure improved inclusion, but the celebration of LGBTIQA+ lives in education.
Through advice and Q&A sessions, the Pearson webinar will provide educators with the tools required to manage inclusion-related challenges that can arise inside and outside the classroom. From understanding pronouns, using appropriate language, and providing practical tips to drive change, to using visual cues and creating safe spaces for students, together we can promote inclusivity across the curriculum and beyond.