Back to School: How to Create an Inclusive Classroom for LGBTQ2+ Students

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Heading back to school is a nerve-wracking time for parents, teachers and students alike. It can be even more challenging for LGBTQ2+ students, who face unique and often cruel struggles to find their place in schools.  

Unfortunately, most educators across Canada lack formal instruction on how to address issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identify, which can make the classroom a difficult environment for LGBTQ2+ youth. Creating an inclusive academic environment takes effort from teachers, students, parents, and administrators. So, where should your school begin?

Start a Gay Straight Alliance Network (GSA)

This is an official student club that welcomes LGBTQ2+, heterosexual, and cisgender members. GSAs serve to support magnizalised students. GSAs also create outreach initiatives for allies and students with LGBTQ2+ family members. 

Use Inclusive Language

Don’t refer to all LGBTQ2+ students as “homosexual.”

Instead, learn and practice precise terms:

  • Lesbian

  • Gay

  • Bisexual

  • Transgender

  • Queer

  • Questioning

  • Transsexual

  • Intersex

  • Asexual

  • Pansexual

  • Agender

  • Gender Queer

  • Bigender

  • Gender Variant

  • Pangender

  • 2/Two-Spirit 

This helps the queer community gain respect and supports inclusion.

Report Hurtful Language

According to research conducted by the University of Winnipeg, “70% of students in Canada reported hearing homophobic expressions every day in school.”

 Educators and students alike cannot ignore spiteful language. Take time to explain why hurtful language is toxic and unacceptable. 

Use Real-Life LGBTQ2+ Stories

Showcase movies, television shows, and documentaries. Guest speakers and panelists are a great way to get important conversations started! We’d be happy to facilitate this for you through our Outreels Diversity Education Program

Create A Comfortable Classroom Climate

LGBTQ2+ students need to feel safe in the classroom. Speak openly about LGBTQ2+ human rights and dignity. Also, be open-minded with students who struggle with understanding queer concepts.  

Create an Anti-Bullying Campaign

Work with students and administrators to end LGBTQ2+ bullying and violence. Speak up when you witness harassment in school.

What ideas do you have to make schools more inclusive? Comment below.

Looking for a way to help make your school or workplace more inclusive? Book a workshop through our OUTReels Diversity Education Program! We bring the conversation and open dialogue right to you. Contact us for more information: admin@fairytalesfilmfest.com.

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