Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Tips to Creating a Gender Inclusive School Environment

1)      Advertise that you are a Safe Space for all identities, expressions and orientations. 
2)      Have courageous conversations with staff, students and community to confront inequalities, offensive materials, misconceptions and meta-messages.
3)      Find ways to feed in materials and ideas to directly confront and disrupt power, heteronomativity and gender roles.
4)      Listen to and directly involve students in confronting and disrupting. Use their passion for equity to your advantage.
5)      Have courage knowing that the law, your role as an educator and advocacy for students gives you more power than you think. We have a legal obligation to respond to harassment and discrimination in our schools.
6)      Call incidences for what they are: sexism, homophobia, heteronormativity… not bullying.
7)      Consciously choose language that is non-gendered.
8)      Consciously invite students to participate in non-dominant activities.
9)      Support students every time they confront the norm, irrationally and with passion!
10)   Emphasize the need to build allies.  Everyone can be an ally for a friend. Never focus on outing anyone or making orientation an exclusive club to LGBTI students.
11)   Build community connections to other youth supports who can be your school’s ally. Reach out to leaders in the youth and young adult community. High school GSAs, URPride etc.
12)   Reflect on your own bias and how bias affects your teaching.
13)   De-gender the binary of boys vs girls in your school: Gender neutral washrooms, Gender neutral sports teams, Gender neutral resources, Gender neutral opportunities, Gender neutral rewards, Gender neutral code of conduct and dress code
14)   Focus on curriculum that builds acceptance and understanding – shift away from educating exclusively about reproductive organs, sexual practice and labeling the spectrum of sexual diversity.
15)   Begin anti-discriminatory campaigns against the use of words like gay, fag, dyke etc.
16)   Begin a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) with the support of Division leadership, parent council, staff and students.
17)   Encourage administrators to not support ‘opting out’ for students. Education opportunities that are up to date, accurate, age appropriate and respectful are for all students.
18)   Join supportive circles #LGBTeach @GLAAD @GLSEN @huffpostgay @ItGetsBetter
19)   Advocate for inclusive curricula.
20)   Celebrate publicly (websites, assemblies, community presentations) the diversity of your student population and efforts students make to create inclusive environments.
21)   Be positive about all change.

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