Teachers work every day to support their students, no matter their students’ walk of life. The impact that teachers make can be everlasting, but this can be especially true for LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ youth have shown to be more likely to experience bullying, depression, and have a higher chance of attempting or committing suicide, especially if they come from families who do not support them.
Especially now, as students are ordered to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have the power to bring the safeness that can be found in school into their students’ homes. Here are five ways that teachers can support their LGBTQ+ students who may not be receiving the support they need at home.
Make Yourself a Known Ally
Specifically telling your students, LGBTQ+ or not, that you are a safe place for them to come to is major. This allows you to be a trusted source if they ever feel unsafe or need help. Making yourself known as a LGBTQ+ ally can also be done by teaming up with the school’s GSA, should your school have one.
Use Your Students’ Preferred Pronouns
This simple act does more than just show respect for your students who have pronouns that may differ than their “assumed” pronouns—it lets your class know you accept the LGBTQ+ community. Using the improper name or pronouns for students who wish to be called something else can be a hurtful reminder. Students who identify under a different name and pronouns than their assumed ones experience 71% fewer depression symptoms and are 59% less likely to attempt suicide.
Utilize Online Resource
Many online resources can help increase LGBTQ+ students’ needs for support. The Family Acceptance Project, for example, has been providing families of all different backgrounds and religions with the educational tools they need to learn to accept their LGBTQ+ children. The program’s resources have proven to shown results in all kinds of families
A variety of support groups also are available virtually to LGBTQ+ youth. The Gender Spectrum and Gender Diversity groups are just two examples of this, but more can be found on The GSA’s Official Instagram page
Make Your Curriculum LGBTQ+ Inclusive
Guides, such as Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Classroom Resources, are great for seeing how to properly implement this. Affirming the identity of LGBTQ+ students can not only decrease risks of harm and increase self-acceptance but also help to normalize the LGBTQ+ community to students who are not a part of that community
Become Familiar with Crisis Prevention Resource
Many LGBTQ+ students, as discussed before, are more likely to face a more severe level of bullying and mental health issues. One of the greatest sources that can help LGBTQ+ students during the most crucial times is The Trevor Project, which can be reached at this number: (1-866-488-7386) at any time and day. The Trevor Project also has a virtual chat that can be accessed if students cannot call the hotline. They also have an abundance of resources for LGBTQ+ youths that are definitely worth looking into.