Pride Month or not: Indian schools need to be inclusive, 6 Things Schools should do to Support LGBTQ+ Community
Well, we all know that Pride month has started and almost everyone is writing and talking about LGBTQ+ content. Of course, it is a month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and queer rights but what should be taken care of is the fact that this activism and support should not remain only till pride month. It should be an everyday thing. The queer community has been struggling for a long time, to have access to things that are basic human rights.
Parallel to that, the lack of gender-equal/ inclusive education and understanding in society adds to their struggles. And to de-root this, what plays an important role is the school level education. If schools, from the very beginning, teach children with a gender-inclusive approach, things can get better. Hence, we have jotted down the five things that schools should do to support the LGBTQ community.
5 Things Schools should do to Support LGBTQ+ Community
1. Ensuring Inclusive Teachers/Staff
The first step to ensure inclusivity in the school is by ensuring gender-inclusive teachers/staff. Many people have their conscious and subconscious biases towards the queer members and that can really affect their teachings and understanding of gender and sexuality. Hence, to ensure gender inclusivity, schools should ensure that their teachers are inclusive. Teaching teachers to be inclusive is the first step towards ensuring inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community, especially students.
2. Re-structuring the study material
Well, it is a no denying fact that school education and curriculum are still quite less gender-inclusive. It is absolutely hard to find traces of queer-related information in schools even to date. The study material makers should relook and restructure the study material, making it more gender-inclusive. And, learning about gender identities should be promoted by adding queer literature, essays, texts, etc in the curriculum creatively.
3. Teaching gender-inclusive language and telling why does it matter
Gender is not a term that can be defined within the binary, in ‘he’ and ‘she’. Teaching students about the singular ‘they’ is a lot more important. The binary gender system restricts them from identifying themselves and makes them fit into either the ‘he’ or she’.
4. Ensuring the right sex education
Even today, there is a lot of ‘hush-hush’ in the sex-education classes and this behaviour doesn’t help anyone. Sex education is an important part of the learning process and it should be absolutely transparent for students. Understanding a few phenomenons of one’s own body, how can that be something to talk secretly about.
5. Ensuring LGBTQ+ allies and ensuring representation to queer members in leadership positions
Every school does have their student council. Here, students get to be in leadership positions. Ensuring diversity and inclusivity can help in building a better and more inclusive environment in the school. The school should ensure LGBTQ+ allyship in every possible manner.
6. Introducing queer cells
Ensuring a queer cell in the schools can be a big revolution towards shaping an inclusive environment in the school. This cell should ensure open and accessible conversations about gender identities and queer rights. This cell should be a place where children can voice their questions, concerns and experiences. This cell can be the first affirmation for students who belong to the queer community that their issues will be voiced.
Well, these are a few things that schools should do to support the LGBTQ+ community. Schools play a major role in educating and shaping the conceptions of children. What children learn from the very basic is highly defined by what they learn in the schools. And hence, the quality of gender studies in schools will define gender inclusivity for them.
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