How schools fail their LGBT+ students - Lucy James

In my education up to senior study, not once have I learnt about any LGBT+ history. Schools have little punishment for any homophobic students and fail to reach out to their LGBT+ students. Putting up one sign in the hallway is not sufficient. Telling kids simply not to be homophobic is not the same as advocating and supporting their rights.

Gay marriage was only legalised in 2013 in the UK. Only 8 years ago did LGBT+ members have the right to get married. As a lesbian, I have experienced many predjudice’s from fellow students and been frowned upon by the general public. Trans students tend to suffer the most and their experiences are the most invalidated - things like unisex bathrooms are crucial in creating a comfortable atmosphere. LGBT+ students are much more likely to face harassment and bullying. As a result, many LGBT+ students suffer from mental health complications requiring extra support. 

So what do schools need to do?

Frequent talks and assemblies from members of LGBT+ community

Incorporate learning about key figures in LGBT+ history, such as: Marsha P. Johnson  (trans woman who advocated for gay rights)

Reaching out to LGBT+ students with things like support groups and unions

Offer mental health support without prejudice or fear of being judged

What do teachers think?

Tracy O’brien (Teacher) = 'We welcome that some schools have really embraced LGBTQ+ into their establishments. We have had training for all staff and have an action plan in place. Some schools , sadly, are not so accepting. At Hampton High we have also spent time looking at diversifying our curriculum and this work is ongoing.'

Rebecca Julien (Teacher) = "At our school we constantly strive towards creating opportunities to empower our LGBT+ students so they have a voice, feel included and are valued within our school community. We are actively making changes to our school policies, curriculum and pastoral provision to continue to promote a culture of acceptance and tolerance." 

As we can see, it is an ongoing process and still requires more attention and effort. More awareness needs to be spread on the topic to reach towards a more LGBT+ friendly education globally.