I recently attended a fabulous talk at my school about LGBT+ issues and what teachers can do to help young people.
I learnt a couple of new words which I thought I'd share:
Heteronormativity: This assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm. Which is problematic because any young person to who this does not apply then feels 'other' or different, or abnormal.
Usualising: When we usualise something, we acclimatise people to its presence, and take away the threat of difference which creates fear and discrimination. Usualising in schools has more to do with familiarising learners with a subject’s everyday occurrence or existence rather than an in-depth understanding of the subject. So it was suggested that in a maths problem it could be 'Peter gave his boyfriend Tim 6 apples...' without further comment, or teaching an event like the stonewall riots in sistory, or commenting when a figure if history is gay, as the assumption is that all are heterosexual...
And Intersectionality which I'd heard before on social media but some people may not be aware of is a concept to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.
Our school also has an LGBT+ society and I am going to speak to them in a couple of weeks about my previous experience of the Army and how that organisation has embraced LGBT+ recruits. The picture at the top is the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst which was lit up for the 2016 Pride event. I was really motivated by this talk from my inspirational colleague and it just made me think that if a traditional and sometimes old fashioned organisation like the Army can support LGBT+ people, could the school system do more?
NUT surveys have found that: Homophobic behaviour is commonplace, Teachers can be targets as well as students and there is a significant demand for whole school training to deal with it. So this talk I'll give later this month is just my tiny contribution, but I hope it will have a positive impact on the pupils that come to watch, as this so clearly links to pupil wellbeing and mental health...