Creating affirming learning environments for youth in your community includes involving and supporting adults as well. Both parents and teachers play critical roles in the lives of our youth and have their own needs.
To Support Parents:
- Parents of LGBTQ youth may face particular stress as their children return to school, knowing the odds of their child being bullied or mistreated. Offer pastoral care to families and be alert to parents’ needs to talk about any concerns they may have.
- PFLAG (an support and advocacy group for parents, families and friends) offers these Top Ten Ways to Make Schools Safe.
- LGBTQ parents may face challenges in schools that do not recognize or support their relationships. Many feel invisible at their children’s schools, even though they are more involved than other parents. Here are some suggestions from the Family Equality Council for parents.
- Check out GLSEN’s Changing The Game: Game Plan for Parents, Caregivers and Families.
- Gender Spectrum, an organization for families with gender expansive children, maintains a Framework for Gender Inclusive Schools website that offers some valuable resources for schools interested in “understanding and implementing gender inclusive practices.”
To Support Teachers:
- Remember that LGBTQ teachers may be working in an environment where they are not out or are not supported. Sometimes teachers who are allies face some of the same hostility and discrimination. Offer pastoral care to all teachers and let them know that your community of faith values their dedication and work.
- GSA offers these tips to teachers on Best Practices for Supporting LGBTQ Youth as They Return to School.
- Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, offers this resource on Creating an LGBTQ Inclusive School Environment.
As school starts again, remind young people, their families, and their teachers that they are a cherished and important part of your faith community.