“Educators know that in order for meaningful learning to take place, students must feel safe and supported at school. This is especially true for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Schoolwide anti-discrimination policies provide a decent framework, but individuals must be the ones at the forefront of their implementation. A teacher who acts as an advocate, or simply avails himself as a safe person to talk to, can make a tremendous difference for a student who is struggling.” (Lina Raffaelli; Edutopia)
Our schools and other designated learning spaces can further support LGBTQ students by creating a culture of inclusiveness and respect for one another. Young people are always watching adults to take cues for their own behavior. As educators, we can set the example by modeling acceptance in thoughts, words, and actions.
The inclusion of LGBT voices in our lesson plans can go a long way toward helping all students see that “different” is not to be feared. Most critically, these lessons also provide a tool for supporting LGBTQ students by showing them positive role models—people who have made and continue to make extraordinary contributions to our world while living bravely and confidently as their authentic selves.