64% of LGBTQ students and 61% of students with LGBTQ parents reported feeling unsafe at school, in comparison to 15% of non-LGBTQ students.
-Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, 2011
Whole School Ideas…
- Know your board’s policy on LGBTQ-inclusion.
- Make sure school climate surveys allow students to self-identify their gender identity and sexuality and ask explicitly about the experience of LGBTQ students.
- Support your school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) or Safer Space Club – be an advisor, attend a meeting or event, talk about the club with your students. If your school does not have a GSA, support students in getting one off the ground!
- Work proactively to ensure your school has at least one easily accessible all-gender washroom.
- Use gender inclusive language, such as “everyone” or “folks” instead of “boys and girls” or “guys”.
- Set-up your classroom as an inclusive space from Day 1: talk about what an inclusive space means, include your students in defining respect and inclusion in the space, and post reminders of class agreements.
- Group and line-up students in a way that does not rely on gender, e.g. “those with birthdays from January to July over here, and August to December over there.”
- Be aware of bias and assumptions about family structure, gender, and sexuality in the curriculum (e.g. family tree activities, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day activities, health education) and create learning activities that celebrate all families, sexualities, and genders.
- Regularly include books/novels/media articles/films with LGBTQ characters and themes.
- Introduce lesson plans that create space for discussion of gender and sexual diversity.