In this article, we aim to create awareness about LGBT and answer the query, “What are the benefits of teaching LGBT in schools?” and also understand the issues faced by the community.
What are the Benefits of Teaching LGBT in Schools?
Teaching about LGBT in schools will create awareness among impressionable minds and help deal with problems such as homophobic bullying, which greatly affects LGBT students. . Moreover, we will understand and learn about the issues that arise due to the exclusion of LGBT.
Also, due to discriminatory behavior and the hostile environment faced by them, they suffer from poor mental health. By this move, their mental health can be salvaged.
What is LGBT?
LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, and Transgender. It is an inclusive term coined to define the diverse sexual and gender identity of people. It is used to portray that the world is not just made up of straight, cisgender, and sexual beings but is made up of diverse individuals belonging to different sexual and gender identities on the spectrum of sexuality.
There is an upgrade to the term, and now it is referred to as LGBTQIA+, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual or Ally.
The implications of Identifying as LGBT
While ideally, everyone is free to love whoever they choose to love and be whoever they choose to be, that is not the case in reality.
People belonging to the LGBT community face a lot of obstacles, torment, and sometimes even violence for just being who they are.
They face discriminatory behavior, Bullying, or sometimes are even killed.
Some of the major implications of identifying as LGBT are as follows.
Denial of Existence of diverse sexual and gender identity.
Many people refuse to believe that gender and sexuality are a wide spectrum and an individual can identify themselves anywhere on that spectrum. Sexuality is limited to just being straight and gender doesn’t necessarily just mean Male and Female.
There are many genders and sexual identities out in the world but some people choose to not believe in this truth.
This denial of their existence creates a lot of psychological impact on the LGBT community
Displaying Homophobic And Toxic Behavior
If people don’t deny their existence then they choose to torment and harass them. Calling them by slurs, derogatory terms, or humiliating them is a way to cause mental distress to them. Sometimes things take a volatile turn and the toxic behavior even becomes fatal.
Bullying or Isolation
The next step after toxic behavior is bullying. LGBT individuals undergo a great amount of bullying in their lifetime. Be it for their choice of appearance, clothing, or partner. The bullying can start very early in childhood too and is not necessarily limited to strangers or peers. Sometimes members of the family can also take part in bullying.
They also suffer from isolation and get excluded from social interaction and interpersonal relationships. Therefore many times, LGBT students grow up to be loners and socially awkward.
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Why is it necessary to Teach about LGBT in schools?
- Sex education is an integral part of the school curriculum. It aims to create awareness about the human body, its mechanisms and encourage them to only engage in safe and responsible sex practices.
- But often, the sex education taught to the students only covers a limited amount of information. It predominantly focuses on heterosexual, cisgender relationships. There is no mention of same-sex relationships. This proves that the sex education taught in schools is not inclusive, and this could hurt the students in the school, be it LGBT or not.
- Children in school are impressionable young minds. If they are taught about diversity and inclusivity today, then they are more likely to be accepting and open-minded.
- Students who identify as LGBT might feel left out and hide their true selves due to fear of exclusion from Bullying. But if awareness is created and a safe environment is generated, then they are more likely to reveal themselves and be comfortable.
- It is our social responsibility to make sure that people of the LGBT community are treated fairly and equally and are given the rights they deserve.
Issues Faced by LGBT students in schools
One of the major issues is whether they should come out to everyone (disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity)
or not. While this may seem like a minor concern to some, the decision to come out can cause severe psychological stress and trauma to the student. It has major implications as their decision of coming out can have consequences and affect their school life
Faking their identity
Trying to fit in by forcing themselves to belong in an environment they are not comfortable in by pretending to be someone they are not. This tactic is used by many students who fake their identities just to avoid the negative consequences attached to being LGBT. Also, they yearn to fit in with their peers and lead a ‘normal life.’
Parental disapproval and opposition.
In the majority of cases parents, at least initially, find it hard to accept their child’s LGBT identity. Some parents oppose, abuse, and harass the child. While some parents display passive-aggressive behavior. There have been instances where parents have opted for the highly controversial conversion therapy. This implies that they think that being LGBT is a choice and that choice can be changed through therapy. Such thoughts and beliefs harm the child’s mental health.
These students often have poor interpersonal relationships with their peers due to stereotypes and misconceptions. It is at times difficult for them to make friends. But even their romantic relationships are negatively affected because of the stigma attached to LGBT.
Either they cannot be open about their relationship or they find it hard to find partners who are like them or who will accept them for who they are.
Weaker or marginalized sections are often targets for Bullying. In this case, the LGBT student often has to go through an unpleasant school experience. The Bullying is either verbal (eg. Name-calling, Teasing, Ridiculing) or physical (Beating, locking up in a room, pushing, or sometimes even sexual abuse)
Benefits Of Teaching LGBT
There are many benefits of teaching LGBT in schools. They are as follows:
- Offers liberty to students to be open about themselves.
- Provides a safe space for students to engage in and be comfortable.
- Creates awareness regarding the sexual and gender identities that exist in this world.
- Eradicates myths and stigmas that are used against LGBT students and even teachers.
- Allows for a free space where people belonging to different sexual orientations and gender identity can co-exist together.
- Today’s students will go on to become adults and shape the world. So by influencing them in a positive manner they can make the world a better and inclusive place.
- Confused students are provided with information of what it means to belong to the LGBT community. They also get a platform to vocalize their issues and concerns.
- Even teachers who identify as LGBT can be free to be vocal about themselves or not hide their true selves at work.
- Sometimes children of LGBT couples feel alienated for having different family dynamics than the other children. By teaching about LGBT in schools, they can realize that being different is normal too.
Everyone can become a part of the LGBT community even if they don’t identify as queer. That is, they can become allies of the community and help them advocate for their issues and rights.
The mental health of LGBT students is greatly affected by the struggles they have to face just to be who they are. Sometimes they even undergo internal struggle and find it difficult to accept themselves. With the help of inclusive education, more awareness can be created, and this will ultimately result in reducing their mental health problems.
What should be included in LGBT education?
The diversity in gender roles, expression, sexual and gender identity, orientation, etc. should be taught and made understand. Students should be encouraged to have an open discussion regarding this topic.
Students should be made aware of LGBT rights and laws so that they do not suffer any injustice due to limited knowledge regarding the laws and rights that the government has given them.
Sex education should not be limited to just heterosexuals. Same-sex relationships or transgender relationships should also be included in sex education.
Non-LGBT students should be made aware of the issues faced by the LGBT community so that they can empathize with them.
We answered the query of what were the benefits of teaching LGBT in schools and also explored the issues that the community faces.
Frequently asked Questions
What are LGBT students?
Students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, intersex, nonbinary, and individuals who identify their sexual orientation or gender identity in other ways (LGBTQI+) are LGBT students.
How can LGBT students help in school?
LGBT students promote diversity and represent the world we live in right now. Having students from diverse backgrounds, it increases the awareness and empathy amongst students and also gives them the liberty to display their true selves. LGBT students can share their experiences, issues, and thoughts on the matter and can become representatives of their community in the school. They can carry out marches and events to celebrate and demand rights for LGBT.
Why do LGBT teachers may make exceptional leaders?
LGBT teachers develop the skill of sustaining under intense pressure without letting it affect their productivity due to years of experience of working under extensive stress. Also, they manage to achieve this feat without betraying anything in their professional demeanor. This exceptional candidate’s ability makes them perfect candidates to become exceptional leaders as they can provide composed leadership, thus earning the trust of school stakeholders.
What’s the meaning of the rainbow flag?
The rainbow flag is the symbol of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities and its social movements. The flag is called by various names, such as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag. The colors of the flag were chosen carefully to represent the diversity of the LGBT community and to reflect the wide spectrum of gender and sexuality. The colors of the rainbow flag are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
How can LGBT students help in school?
- They can help in school by advocating for the queer community. They can
- Start an organization within the school.
- Create spaces specifically for queer students so that they can have a spot at school where they can be comfortable.
- Advocate for their issues and initiate a conversation on the LGBT community to generate awareness.
- Create programs and clubs that help promote diversity and give a platform to queer students.
- With the help of school authorities, teachers and staff create a safe environment for all the students.
- Integrate LGBT related topics in the school curriculum
- Take a stand against homophobic Bullying and establish a committee to fight against it.
- Focus on providing mental health support and counseling to the students and help them deal with any mental health issues.
Schools. (n.d.). youth.gov. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth/school-experiences
Why LGBT teachers may make exceptional school leaders. (n.d.). Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2020.00050/full
LGBTQ-inclusive education: Everything you need to know. (2021, September 8). Stonewall. https://www.stonewall.org.uk/lgbtq-inclusive-education-everything-you-need-know
LGBT-inclusive sex education means healthier youth and safer schools. (2013, June 28). Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbtq-rights/news/2013/06/21/67411/lgbt-inclusive-sex-education-means-healthier-youth-and-safer-schools/