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While the average secondary school will have enough lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students to make up two full classes, 90% of primary and secondary teachers and non-teaching staff report having had no training to support LGBT students, according to Stonewall. For many teachers, it can be a struggle to know how best to support students, especially when there are no policies and procedures in place.
Teachers can use these relatively simple techniques to ensure a basic level of inclusion and care for transgender students in their classroom:
Challenge your assumptions
Commonly heard among staff is, “We’ve not got any trans students here” – unaware that many transgender students are not out. Class teachers aren’t unusually informed about students who transition early – puberty blockers are often prescribed, stopping hormones from developing secondary sex characteristics. Other students may not wish to come out, or only come out selectively. For many students, however, the lack of information about transgender issues and identities can leave them without the language to explain their feelings.
It’s important teachers create a safe environment for transgender students, whether or not we are aware of trans individuals in our schools. This enables questioning students to explore their gender and sends a message of acceptance to all students.
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