Kiah Cruise writes...
As we know, LGBT+ media representation is hard to come by, and when you do, it isn't always positive. However, Alexandra Park School does its best to recognise and educate its pupils on LGBT+ rights, discrimination and abuse that they suffer, types of sexuality, and gives plenty of support to openly, or privately, LGBT+ students.
One way that they support these students is by having an LGBT+ Support and Pride network group, of which I am a member myself. In the club, we discuss important issues surrounding LGBT+ people, and their rights. We have recently had a session in shich people told stories of 'coming out' as LGBT+, and most were positive. The club also gives us a chance to meet similar-minded people, whether they just support members of the community, or are part of it. To improve the already large amount of bad and discouraging recognition given to homophobia, the club is also setting up an anti-homophobia campaign, which includes students and teachers on the proper use of the word 'gay', raising awareness of subtle bullying that members of the community may experience, directing positive messages about the community towards younger, less educated students, and abolishing harmful stereotypes of LGBT+ men, women and non-binary-gendered personnel.
As well as the club, students are taught about sexualities in Citizenship, vaguely, which opens up the possibilities of properly informed, positive representation from a figure of authority. This is a really important step to seeing same sex / asex relationships as equal as equal to heterosexual ones.
In terms of work to do, there is still a long way to go. Even with small actions, such as calling transgender students by their preferred name in class, even if they haven't legally changed it, would mean so much to those students, and the rest of the community. Being called by their preferred names, transgender students would feel more accepted and comfortable in a learning environment. We also get very little support and education on gender image, which many people (especially at the ages of 13-17) do need help with, and can be questioning.