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12 Things You Can Do to Support LGBTQ2S+ Students

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

1. Teach the terminology. We have close to 30 gender terms. Terminology is changing all the time because gender is fluid. Knowing what the terms mean and how they are derived, helps students understand this diversity. 

2. Teach the gender spectrum. Distinguishing between sex assigned at birth and gender clarifies student's understanding of the language being used and fluidity of the spectrum.

3. Teach about social norms. Clarifying that gender is connected to social norms and that sex assigned at birth does not determine behavior. 

4. If you’re a leader, teacher, parent, or a member of the community, being an ally means you use your voice to empower LGBTQ2S+ You stand up for their rights to love, marriage, family, and a safe school / work environment. You become a supporter of inclusivity. You raise awareness and you have difficult conversations with an open mind and an open heart. You educate yourself, and others, about what it means to be a gender and sexual minority. You are now an ally!

5. Teach about inclusive learning and rights. Teaching students about legislation and rights is vital. Also, know what your obligations are as a teacher and advocate in creating an inclusive learning environment. 

6. Declare a safe space. Your classroom needs to clearly be defined as a safe space. Advocate for GSA clubs in your school and professional development offered on sexual and gender minorities. 

7. End abusive language. Don't be paralyzed by fear. When students hear and see you addressing abusive language, they know they can trust you. 

8. Keep an eye out for students. Pay attention to signs of abuse or bullying. Establish a relationship and communicate what wrap around services are available to students.  

9. Coach others, including staff, on the use of homophobic language, what resources they can use to create inclusive learning, and how to change the school culture. 

10. Take the time to get to know your LGBTQ students. Know that in a classroom of 30, 3 will not identify as heterosexual starting as early as elementary. Make notes of the strategies that work for engaging these learners as they are progressing through the year. Offer these supports to the next teacher. 

11. Showcase artists, journalists, and role models who do not identify as heterosexual. This is empowering and inclusive.

12.. Know that, although some students are not "out," and it is not your place to "out" them, they are watching you, hearing you, and know that they are safe with you.  You are now an ally. 

Coach Yanna

#teen-coaching #support #lgbtq+

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