What do LGBTQ+ young people want schools, colleges and settings to know?
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What do LGBTQ+ young people want schools, colleges and settings to know?

Advice from LGBTQ+ young people for education staff

 

It’s important to place the voices of LGBTQ+ children and young people at the heart of your LGBTQ+ inclusive work.

Children and young people offer a unique perspective on your school, college or setting’s work and can help you to identify areas for improvement. Remember some children and young people may use a range of words beyond lesbian, gay, bi or trans to describe their gender identity or orientation, you’ll find some of the most common ones in in our glossary.

We asked some LGBTQ+ young people about their experiences at their school, college or setting – namely, what would make their life at their school, college or setting better, and what they would like education staff to know. Based on their answers, we came up with these 12 top tips. 

Use them as a conversation starter in a staff meeting, discuss them with your diversity or LGBTQ+ group, and consider them when reviewing your policies, and curriculum content.

 

1. Train your staff

"Better educate staff on the LGBTQ+ community and more strictly enforce proper pronoun usage."

An 18-year-old with SEND at an FE college

 

2. Be supportive

"Don’t make a big deal about it, but keep educated and try to be supportive if/when students confide in you."

A 17-year-old at an all boys’ school

 

3. Challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia

"Deal with homophobes and transphobes as well as teaching the other students about LGBTQ+ people."

A 16-year-old at secondary school

 

4. Make your curriculum LGBTQ+ inclusive

"I think LGBTQ+ should be recognised more in class and they should do an assembly about LGBTQ+. I think that would help kids feel supported and educate people about what LGBTQ+ actually is."

A 15-year-old at secondary school

 

5. Respect student confidentiality

You can find more information on safeguarding and confidentiality in our section on supporting individual LGBTQ+ children and young people.

 

6. Start an LGBTQ+ club

"My secondary school had a Pride alliance that I attended and, eventually, also ran. It was a good source of support and information. It was also a good safe space as it was completely student run for the majority of the time."

A 20-year-old at university

 

7. Support trans children and young people to be themselves

"Teachers at my secondary school were not allowed to call me by my preferred name and pronouns. I was miserable because of this."

A trans 20-year-old at university

 

8. Offer gender-neutral facilities

"My college has gender-neutral restrooms and changing rooms. They are also very openly and genuinely supportive of LGBTQ+ rights."

A 17-year-old at an FE college

 

Note: Gender neutral facilities are best offered in addition to single-sex facilities.

 

9. Talk about LGBTQ+ people and topics

"You should never feel uncomfortable talking about LGBTQ+ topics, and even if you get questions that you are uncomfortable with, try your best to answer them – it will make all the difference. Also, even if there is only one LGBTQ+ person in that group, you have just made a massive difference in their life and journey to feeling accepted and even accepting themselves."

A 14-year-old at secondary school

 

10. Include LGBTQ+ people in the conversation and talk about a range of sexualities

"Instead of talking to heterosexual people about LGBTQ+ issues, talk directly to LGBTQ+ people and tell them that they are valid. Only talking to heterosexual people in an LGBTQ+ conversation can be very damaging to queer people and make them feel excluded."

A 14-year-old at secondary school

 

11. Make sure your RSHE lessons are inclusive

"I think that they should cover all forms of relationships, including LGBTQ+ ones and when talking about protection, include LGBTQ+ people in that and not just straight people."

A 14-year-old at secondary school

 

12. Put LGBTQ+ children and young people at the centre of your LGBTQ+ inclusive work

"Talk to youth workers and young people about what they need."

A 16-year-old at secondary school

 

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