As teachers, we are in a unique position to create safe spaces for our students that allow them to feel accepted and supported. The ways we can do so vary depending on the age of your school population and what resources you have available. But it’s an imperative step towards fostering belonging, acceptance, and support at school-a crucial part of life
The “lgbt inclusion definition” is a term that has been used to describe the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people. The meaning of this word is not widely known. This article will explain what it means and how you can help foster belonging, acceptance, and support for your LGBTQIA+ students. It’s a matter of life and death.
Many young people mistake belonging for a desire to fit in, but it is so much more. Accepting, appreciating, and incorporating our entire self, as well as those of others, implies not editing or limiting our real nature to suit the expectations of others.
Fostering a sense of belonging for LGBTQIA+ kids is more than just about safeguarding emotions; it may be a life or death situation. In secondary school, belonging is crucial, since it has long-term advantages for self-esteem, self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and well-being. However, LGBTQIA+ students, especially those of color and those with disabilities, encounter a variety of barriers to belonging, including erasure (often due to a lack of sexual health education), harassment, and bullying. Bullying may result in physical and mental suffering, as well as poor academic performance and a higher risk of suicide. Despite protective legislation and school regulations, LGBTQIA+ children continue to face inequity in education.
Coming out is a huge danger to queer and trans people’s sense of belonging. Saying, “I’m not like the prevailing culture,” puts one’s safety, security, and support at danger. It may even need publicly claiming an identity before accepting it privately. To make things more complicated, sexuality and gender identity may shift over time. Due to their perceived identities, even individuals who do not “come out” to others or to themselves confront barriers to belonging.
Educators have the power and duty to assist LGBTQIA+ students, beginning with personal allyship education. There are also a number of practical methods to help LGBTQIA+ kids at your school feel like they belong.
Inspire students to investigate their own identities in the classroom.
Inviting students to explore all aspects of their identities in environments where they are respected and encouraged to participate is a significant step toward helping queer students find a sense of belonging. Students are better prepared for open, genuine conversations when trauma-informed techniques like co-creating classroom behavior standards are used. At Wayfinder, we provide a six-year curriculum that focuses on building a sense of belonging and purpose. Each year starts with norming in order for students to have a deep, personal knowledge of expectations for themselves and their peers when identity and other sensitive subjects emerge.
Invite students to articulate and discuss visible and invisible aspects of their identities, such as gender and sexuality, after the foundations have been established (if they so choose). Having these conversations may help LGBTQIA+ students embrace and value who they are and what they have to contribute. Wayfinder courses also encourage students to think about their own identities and challenge assumptions about others’, allowing them to critically evaluate their place in society and their capacity to change it.
Show that you care about LGBTQIA+ students, teachers, and staff.
Representation is important at school, as it is in life. That’s why the introductory quotes and media in Wayfinder’s courses come from people who reflect a variety of identities and life experiences. These provide kids good role models of famous queer and trans people who urge them to belong.
You can also foster belonging by setting up, demonstrating support for, and/or attending meetings of a school-wide Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA). Having GSAs on campus has been proven to reduce bullying and hate speech and increase feelings of campus safety among LGBTQIA+ students, whether or not they participate.
Empathy and compassion should be explicitly taught.
Compassion, according to Wayfinder, begins with oneself. We teach students how to recognize which circumstances they have control over and how to exercise self-compassion in tough situations. These techniques may assist LGBTQIA+ students in coping with the various emotions they may experience throughout their identity development.
Compassion, on the other hand, does not end with the ego. For LGBTQIA+ kids, peer support goes a long way toward fostering a sense of belonging. Wayfinder helps students develop social awareness, interpersonal skills, and a knowledge of intersectional allyship by teaching them how to be upstanders and utilize their talents as gifts.
Finally, measures to guarantee the safety and well-being of LGBTQIA+ students contribute not just to a more equal education for gay and trans kids, but also to a broader sense of belonging that benefits all students.
Adobe Stock-licensed photo from Rawpixel.com.
Supporting your LGBTQIA+ students is a matter of life and death. It’s important that you foster belonging, acceptance, and support for your students. Reference: supporting your lgbtq child.
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