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Supporting LGBTQ students

Accepting different sexualities

It is important that, as a school, you do not consider heterosexuality to be ‘the norm’ and that different sexualities and genders are covered across the curriculum.

Your staff team may not be familiar with the different sexualities and gender identities that have come to the fore over recent years. It would be helpful to provide training in this area so they feel comfortable supporting LGBTQ young people and are able to promote tolerance and support among students.

Creating a safe space

Visible signs of support will help LGBTQ students feel safe in school. As well as posters and leaflets, you may want to consider a pledge that staff and students can make to be an ally and stand up against HBT behaviour.  

Staff members that agree to be allies could research local support organisations, set up an LGBTQ group in school, or lead on developing the curriculum in their area to incorporate LGBTQ issues.

Supporting trans young people

It is important that trans young people are able to be the gender with which they identify. They have as much right as anyone else and are protected by law.

If you have not had a trans young person or staff member in school before, it may feel like a difficult and unknown subject matter. However, it’s actually quite straightforward.

The most important thing is to ask the young person what they need and what they want to happen. Under the Equality Act, they have a right to lead on issues such as what name they go by, their clothing, the toilets and changing rooms they use and how much information they want to be shared with others.

Where possible, you should work with parents or carers – and medical professionals, if they are involved – to support the young person. You may want to explore a CAF with the young person and their family as a way to monitor how they’re doing and ensure they feel supported and can easily raise any issues they may have.

To help you understand your legal responsibilities and best practice when working with trans young people, we recommend that you review the guidance produced by Brighton and Hove Council and the example policy from Brine Leas School.

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