Four Back To School Tips for LGBTQ Parents/Guardians
The beginning of a new school year can create stressors for all parents, guardians and other caregivers. However, being an LGBTQ person with a child going to school can be especially difficult. HRCF’s Welcoming Schools has a list of strategies that LGBTQ families and educators can use to create a more LGBTQ-inclusive schools and classrooms.
- •Provide your child’s school with LGBTQ-inclusive resourcesWelcoming Schools has incredible resources, such as age-appropriate books that showcase diverse families and ready-to-use lesson plans that embrace family diversity. Providing the school with these materials will help your school to better address the diversity of family structures and to help educators know how to answer questions like “Why does Janelle have two dads?” or “What does ‘gay’ mean?”
- •Get involved in the school communityDoes your school have a parent/guardian group? Are there opportunities to volunteer in the classroom or to attend a field trip? Not all families have the time or resources to volunteer at school, but if you do, you will have the opportunity to meet the school community and to have them meet you.
- •Speak up for your family and childDoes the school’s media center lack books about LGBTQ families? Does a form ask for the names of your child’s “mother and father” instead of their “legal caregiver(s)”? If you can, speak up and provide feedback to the school to make it more LGBTQ-inclusive. It is not only beneficial to your family, but to all members of the school community because a responsibility of educators is to teach students to navigate difference in order to become better citizens of the school and the community.
- •Seek support from other familiesSeeking support from other families is essential. Not only will you and your child develop friendships with families that are the same and/or different than your family, but an established network can help you as a group to make changes that will help the school be more inclusive, such as developing an enumerated bullying prevention policy or encouraging the school to hold professional development on family diversity or gender.