A short documentary film is being used to educate children, teachers and parents on gender inclusivity, as well as how to tackle bullying and stereotyping in schools.
Creating Gender Inclusive Schools follows teachers and students in Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, California. The school brought in experts from Gender Spectrum, an organisation whose mission is to foster gender inclusivity for LGBT+ children. Gender Spectrum created an age-appropriate curriculum for the students, as well as providing additional training for parents and teachers.
Educators joined the school for a week of classroom activities that invited children to see gender beyond the binary of male and female. A sample of the activities can be seen in the trailer, as well as the reaction of the students. One child tells the camera: “It doesn’t matter what gender you are, it matters what kind of person you are.” In another scene, the children appear to be grasping the complexities of sex, gender expression and identity. A student stands at the front of her class, telling them confidently “I was born as a girl, and then on the inside, I feel in the middle.”
One educator praises the accessibility of the programme saying “You’d be surprised how open-minded parents are, and more so how welcoming the children are to learning about this.” One parent comments on her son’s reaction: “I think it had never occurred to him that you could look at the world this way, that you could take off these labels.”
The film company maintains that Creating Gender Inclusive Schools “demonstrates that it’s not only possible, but that it’s downright fun, to train an entire public elementary school community to be inclusive of transgender and gender expansive youth”.
In Ireland, young LGBT+ people have been calling for improvements to sex education for many years, with BeLonG To Youth Services calling for a transformation of how schools view and engage with sex education and LGBT+ issues.
The film is freely available to stream for the month of September on Gender Spectrum’s website.
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