Parents and carers of LGBTQ+ children and young people
Some parents or carers may have worries about their child being lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, or on the asexual or aromantic spectrum. They could be concerned their child will be bullied because of their orientation or gender identity, or that their child won’t have the adulthood they’d anticipated. They may be angry or disappointed, or not know what to do next.
Sometimes parents or carers can be unsupportive because of misconceptions about what it means to be LGBTQ+. They may benefit from accessing support – if possible, direct them towards relevant organisations, local groups, or family services. FFLAG have a useful website that you can signpost them to.
It’s important not to assume that a parent or carer will be either supportive or unsupportive based on their faith or cultural background. Where parents or carers are unsupportive, LGBTQ+ children and young people will need extra support from others. Schools, colleges, settings, charities and youth groups can play a vital role in providing this support.
Working with parents, carers and the wider community
It is important to ensure that you communicate your LGBTQ+ inclusive approach with all parents and carers, as well as with the wider community. Make your anti-bullying policy and equality policy easily accessible so that all parents and carers understand that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying is not tolerated and that all learners are welcome, regardless of their orientation or gender identity.
Try to involve parents or carers in your policy development by inviting them to be part of a policy working group. Use your website, social media channels and displays to celebrate your LGBTQ+ inclusive work and special events such as LGBT+ History Month. Share curriculum outlines and resources so that parents and carers can see what the curriculum does (and doesn’t) include. Refer to your LGBTQ+ inclusive work at parent and carer information sessions.
Consider how to remove barriers for parents or carers who might struggle to access information, for example ensuring that sign language interpreters or community language interpreters are available at your information sessions. If you are a faith school, college or setting, involve the local faith leaders in your LGBTQ+ inclusive work.
Let parents and carers know that they can come to you with questions about any aspects of your school, college or setting’s work, including the LGBTQ+ inclusive aspects. It is important to offer parents and carers guidelines about the use of social media – in particular, the guidelines should specify that it is unacceptable to share personal information about other people’s children or about any member of staff.