Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families (LGBT) families are the fastest growing type of family structure in Canada. Research states students perform better academically and socially when they see themselves reflected in the school environment and curriculum. As educators we have the responsibility to build effective communication and trust with all of our students and their parents.
Environment : It is important for students to see themselves reflected in their school environment.
1. Display positive space posters that indicate a respectful and harassment free school.
2. Display posters or art work that reflect all types of families.
Communication: Foster positive communication and trust with LGBT families.
1. Ask open ended questions to find out about families.
2. Encourage families to be a part of school councils and school activities.
Language: With all verbal and written forms of communication use inclusive language to not assume that students have heterosexual families.
1. Use the terms partner, families, or guardians to include LGBT families and sentences such as:
"Tell me about your family."
"What are the names your child uses to refer to family members?"
"Do you have any resources and materials you are willing to share?"
"Thank you for dropping by, I enjoyed meeting your mom and her partner."
"I look forward to meeting with you and your family tomorrow."
"Don't forget to get your guardian to sign the trip form."
Curriculum Links: Make connections to the curriculum so all students feel validated and engaged.
1. Use LGBT books, media, pictures as part of your everyday curriculum.
2. Include the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender when describing various families.
3. Use teachable moments to address homophobia or transphobia.
ETFO - LGBT Resources
- Take Action Kit
- Positive Space brochure
- Imagine a world that is Free from Fear
- Social Justice Begins with Me
All families should be honoured and recognized in our classroom.
Family Day (February)
1. Celebrate all types of families.
2. Give students an opportunity to talk about their families.
3. Invite LGBT families to share their traditions.
Mothers' and Fathers' Day
1. Have a class discussion about important women/men who care for you.
2. Alternative names could include 'Love Day' or "GAMES Day' (Grandmothers, aunts, moms, even sisters).
3. If there are two moms or two dads, let the student make the choice of making one or two cards.
Reprinted from ETFO pamphlet: Welcoming and Supporting LGBT Families