10 recommendations on supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people
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10 recommendations on supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people

Our top tips for an LGBTQ+ inclusive school, college or setting

1. Keep an open mind

Don’t make assumptions about who is (or isn’t) LGBTQ+, and don’t assume that all your learners experience emotional, romantic or sexual attraction. Let each child or young person use words of their choice to describe their orientation or gender identity and remember that every child or young person will express who they are in their own way.

 

2. Listen and be positive

Be positive when a child or young person comes out as LGBTQ+. Listen, offer reassurance and talk to them about how they’d like to proceed. Only share information about their identity with their consent or if it is relevant to a safeguarding concern.

 

3. Work with parents and carers

Make sure all parents and carers know that LGBTQ+ issues are covered in school, but only discuss a child or young person’s identity with their parents or carers with the child or young person’s permission. A child or young person might not yet be ready for their parents or carers to know that they’re LGBTQ+, be afraid about how they will react, or feel that they will not receive the support they need. When parents and carers are receptive, work with them to ensure the best support for the child or young person, and make sure you know where to signpost should they want information, advice or support.

 

4. Tackle bullying and challenge gender stereotypes

Take an organisation-wide approach to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language, and challenge gender stereotypes from an early age. Make sure that learners understand your anti-bullying policy – it is helpful to have a version that’s child- or young person-friendly. Take a look at our Early Years, Primary and Secondary Getting Started Toolkits for more ideas.

 

5. Support young people to find an LGBTQ+ youth group

Use local networks and Stonewall’s What’s in my area? database and Info Service, as well as the Proud Trust website to find out what’s running in the local community. You could also support your children and young people to set up diversity, equality or peer support groups in your school, college or setting. Read Pupil Voice and Student Voice for more information.

 

6. Provide access to resources and information

Relevant, timely information and resources will help LGBTQ+ children and young people make safe choices. Make information available around the school, college or setting and provide links to accurate and appropriate information online. Ensure that learners are able to access information in an anonymous or confidential way, for example with displays in corridors, leaflets in common rooms or on the school website.

 

7. Help LGBTQ+ children and young people stay safe

Help your children and young people stay safe online and when out and about. Make sure children and young people know their rights and how to report discrimination. Ensure children and young people know how they can access counselling and mental health services, or offer them support to access them if they are unable to do so themselves.

 

8. Increase visibility

Make sure LGBTQ+ people, families and lives are reflected throughout the curriculum, including in RSHE. Ensure the library contains a range of books with LGBTQ+ characters and different families and celebrate special events such as LGBT+ History Month. Ensure that a wide range of LGBTQ+ people are represented, including those with other protected characteristics such as LGBTQ+ People of Colour, LGBTQ+ disabled people, and LGBTQ+ people of faith. Be sure to check that the representation includes bi and nonbinary people. Take a look at our resources for schools, colleges and settings for inspiration.

 

9. Equip staff to step up

Help all staff act as role models to children and young people by equipping them to talk about different families and issues affecting LGBTQ+ people, and to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia effectively. Stonewall offer a range of CPD accredited e-learning modules as well as classroom resources to support their work.

 

10. Work together

Work collaboratively with local authorities, schools, settings, youth services and the wider community to provide the best support possible to LGBTQ+ children and young people.

 

Return to An Introduction to Supporting LGBTQ+ Children and Young People