As long as children are being singled out and bullied for being LGBT in schools, true equality has not been achieved, says INTO LGBT Teachers Group.
In light of findings in the recent LGBTIreland report that young people are reporting higher self-harm and suicidal ideation, the INTO LGBT Teachers Group have called on schools to be agents of change, saying they have a duty to protect children and to promote inclusion.
The LGBT Ireland report identifies the most common age of LGBT identity awareness as being during the primary school years, often at a very young age for those who are transgender.
“A school should be a place where a child’s identity and family is affirmed, validated and nurtured,” said INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group Chairperson, Dion Ó Caoimh. “As teachers, we need to ensure that children, who come from a wide variety of family types, including those with same-sex parents, or who will themselves self-identify as LGBT, feel included and protected in the school setting.”
A poster resource for teachers called Different Families: Same Love was created by the INTO LGBT Teachers Group in order to assist teachers in affirming young people’s sexual and gender identities.
“The poster facilitates child-centred and age-appropriate discussions of different family types,” says Ó Caoimh. “Such discussions will lay the foundations for positive attitudes towards LGBT people and will equip children with the knowledge to counter bullying within peer groups.”
The INTO encourages all schools to use this resource, to demonstrate to the community that our schools are safe environments for LGBT people and, in which, issues of homophobic and transphobic bullying will be taken seriously and addressed.
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