People talk a lot about healthy behaviors among students. They say for instance "Tom is attentive in the classroom" or "Winnie is cooperative in group work" or "Melody is always clean". When we observe the student, we decide whether a behavior is healthy or unhealthy. A question commonly asked is; how can we promote healthy behaviors among students in the LGBTQ school community? While many have been led to believe that our society today has resolved gender and human rights issues, the crux of the matter is the vast majority of students particularly the LGBTQ community pass through frustration and anxiety resulting from discrimination or neglect. Many of these students report suicidal ideation because the school staff and peers make negative remarks against them. There are several ways to promote healthy behaviors among students, particularly in the LGBTQ community.
The most robust step is that teachers should acquaint themselves with knowledge about LGBTQ. The vast majority of staff can make biased remarks because they have little to no knowledge about LGBTQ communities. Meanwhile, school counselors have a huge responsibility of acquainting other staff members about sexual and gender identity issues among students. They are required to address the misconceptions and myths, which subsequently can help improve the lives and safety of students. Conversely, both staff members can be held guilty of derogatory statements directed to lesbians or transgenders.
It's crucial to mind the language used when interacting with LGBTQ students. One of the common drawbacks is the assumption that students have only two genders (male and female). This can come out rather offensive particularly when addressing transgender students or bisexuals. As mentioned in the previous blog “Trangender Males & ABA Strategy“, transgender students have a genuine conviction that their gender was assigned wrongly during birth. It's important to refrain from terms such as sir/madam, he/she, or him/her. Recommendable terms include "my student" or "my guest" or "my friends".
While many schools have LGBTQ policies, many students have raised concerns about bullying and violation of their rights. It's noteworthy that these policies are meant to protect the rights of students rather than oppose them. Students are entitled to engage in any school activities ranging from sports and music fest. Teachers are also encouraged to reinforce these policies thus promoting equality among students.
While abstinence has been a central objective in sex education in schools, most scholars suggests the introduction of LGBTQ education in the school curriculum. This can help dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding LGBTQ communities. With such a curriculum, youth are also taught about the danger of sexually transmitted diseases and how exactly a healthy relationship looks like.
One of the few drawbacks that have crippled such education is the lack of information about the LGBTQ community. Moreover, some teachers have raised concerns on how best some sensitive issues can be addressed respectfully. The most essential thing is for young people to learn the importance gender differences and minimize the chances of discrimination, relationship violence, and coercion.
We want to encourage schools administration, parents and teachers to keep the conversations on this topic beneficial. We cannot ignore and dismiss, but have to listen and make sure that children feel safe.
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