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Assistance with LGBTIQ+ students

Community Member

Hi readers,

I didn't even realise that Beyond Blue had a forum until now but this seems like a good place to start.

So I am an educator. In terms of my own background, I have had ongoing issues with depression and anxiety. I am largely cisgender but have had some bicurious tendencies and have had homosexual experiences.

This isn't about me though! I work at a rather... small, rural school. We have what is referred to as a "tier 3" program which is a separate place that students can access when they cannot be, for various reasons, in a "mainstream" class. Anyway, I have a student who has a variety of physical and mental issues. Their parents are demisexual and biromantic (all things I've learnt thanks to her and my own research): the student in question identifies as transgender. We have talked about this at length but their peers simply cannot reconcile these differences.

Firstly, are there any tips that anyone can provide from first hand experience that will support a young person that is transgender? (e.g. Ways to approach it, language to use,etc) additionally, all of their 3 siblings identify as non-cisgender: is that nurture or nature?

And secondly, in what ways can young adults be taught to simply accept that gender/sexual differences exist? That's really a societal level question but this school lives in a relative vacuum of old fashioned values. Does anyone have tips on how to approach the more reticent people on the massive spectrum that is gender and security?

I know these are massive, open-ended questions, but I want to do the best by the students I teach.

Thanks in advance 😊

5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hi RaRaRa , this does not answer your question but may be a route to specific information . Dont know where you are either but an email could work for you .

Last week's Australian Story ( ABC ) was about Dr Michelle Telfer who heads the RCH Melbourne's gender clinic and the doctor specialises in Trans kids . I sent a thank you email and received an email a couple of days later ( very nice one ) .

They may have or help you find some if not all you are seeking .

Hope that helps , keep digging .

Jo W

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi RaRaRa,

Welcome and thank you for your post! I don't identify with LGBTQ+ so I'm coming in from the perspective of learning and accepting gender differences, as it's so important for me to be an advocate and to continually learn about identity and sexuality.

I'm grateful that you've started this conversation- I actually didn't learn about this until after high school so I had a lot to learn and unlearn. Our school and curriculum wasn't inclusive either; everything was 'boys/girls' and heterosexual couples. I know that if I had identified on the spectrum I wouldn't have felt welcomed or even safe to share who I really was.

If you have a look online, there's some great LGBTQ+ curriculum guidelines that schools have been using- especially places overseas, as somehow Australia seems a little behind in all of it. Even learning about sexuality and identity in general- these are concepts we can learn at really young ages, in that people have different skin colours, different languages, different bodies, different identities.

Also, while you might be supporting one person that's transgender, keep in mind there could be others too- I think that's part of being LGBTQ+ inclusive, because you may find people discovering their identities or not comfortable expressing them yet.

Hope this helps- looking forward to reading other responses.


Community Member

stand up for them. call out transphobia if you see it. correct students on name and pronouns - i know a few ways but firmly saying their correct name/pronoun after something says the wrong one is probably the least passive-aggressive.

re: nature v nurture thing i refuse to participate in those debates because i think its currently irrelevant at best and eugenics at worst. other people might receive it better i sure don't. outside of my own opinion it is a very murky subject and usually split along biological/social lines. fwiw most medical sources (american pyschological association, dsm-v, who) say that trans people don't always have medical/biological conditions and its not needed to be considered trans

this will probably work better if your school has an anti-discrimination policy about this. bring this up with your higher-ups or ask it to be talked about in a school assembly or year meeting. ask for a no-tolerance. pretty sure reachout has some anti-homophobia left handed videos that you could show them

stonewall has this resource for educators about confronting lgbtphobic bullying in schools. from a british org so some of the things it suggests aren't 1:1 for a rural australian school https://www.stonewall.org.uk/system/files/getting_started_-_a_toolkit_for_secondary_schools.pdf

Community Member

Hi Eight , thank you for that post , you truly are a wordsmith and I can only wish that I could be so articulate .👍👍👍

Thank you , Jo