Supporting LGBTIQ students

Did you come out at school? More students and young people are coming out as sexuality or gender diverse during their school years.

Young people are not waiting until they go to Uni or leave home, or move to the big city. This means schools need to develop solid practice responses. This can include treating the young person with respect, offering support appropriate to the individual student and creating a safe school environment free from bullying, harassment, homophobia, and transphobia.

In July there will be a workshop on “Developing Good Practice Responses and Protocols for LGBTIQ Young People in Schools and Youth settings ”. The workshop will be for the school community, teachers, school counselors, and youth workers. It is being developed and presented by a consortium of organisations that want to work together for a positive change for LGBTIQ young people in the ACT. This includes Northside Community Services, headspace, AIDS Action Council, Sexual Health & Family Planning, A Gender Agenda and the Youth Coalition.

In 2014, students and young people should be supported appropriate to their individual needs. The LGBTIQ communities have often identified school as a very difficult place to negotiate successfully. On the positive side students, young people, schools, teachers, counselors, and parents are wanting good quality information, support, and advice so they can do things right. This workshop will help identify what needs to be done to get it right for LGBTIQ students and young people in the ACT.

“I was a youth worker contacted by a school where a fifteen year old student had told a teacher he was gay. I was not able to see the student for seven weeks because the school felt it had to check if this was a reportable matter under child protection legislation. When I finally spoke to the student he had just wanted to talk to someone, he had never kissed anyone or had sex. He did not have a problem about being gay. He just wanted some support about telling his family and friends.”

It is important that we hear from students and young people about their experiences of coming out during their school years. If you have a story  you would like to share about your experience at school we would love to hear it. We want to create some non-identifying stories with both positive and negative experiences to help workshop participants understand the experience of young people and students in 2014. Please email your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There will be more workshops and opportunities for students and young people to have their say in the next few months, including the opportunity for parents to talk about the support they need.

For further information about the workshops,contact the Facilitator, Suzanne Eastwood at Northside Community Services 6257 2255.

There is more information in this Australian report. Growing Up Queer, Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse at: youngandwellcrc.org.au

Tags: Queer Youth

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