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LGBTQI students can potentially fear being bullied or left out at school. It is important that teachers provide an inclusive, supportive and safe learning environment for all students. Dib's Freedom Story is a short video from The Freedom Stories series that you can use in your teaching to help make your classroom a LGBTQI safe place.

This information will:

  • help you make your classroom a LGBTQI safe place
  • provide information on gender and sexuality
  • provide hints and tips on how to use inclusive language in the classroom
  • help you create a supportive and safe learning environment
  • provide you with tips on how to ensure lessons are LGBTQI inclusive.
Student in class looking down with teacher

The Freedom Stories

The Freedom Stories are five powerful short films that showcase the strength and confidence of LGBT young people, providing support to other young people around their sexuality or gender diversity. The Freedom Stories were made through a collaboration between LGBTQI community health leader ACON and Dib's story in particular is a great resource to use in the classroom to help create a safe and supportive learning environment for LGBTQI students.

The difference between gender and sexuality

When teaching about self identity and relationships students can become confused about the differences between gender and sexuality. While they are often talked about together, they are actually different.

Gender refers to one's sense of who they are in terms of what pronoun they identify with regardless of what their physical characteristics, genes or hormones indicate. Transgender and transsexual individuals are gender diverse.

Somebody's sexuality is about who they are attracted to sexually and romantically. For example heterosexual people are sexually and romantically attracted to members of the opposite sex while same sex attracted people to the members of the same sex. However sexuality is not as simple as being gay or straight - some people identify as bi-sexual and are attracted to both the same and opposite sex. Some people feel that labels like straight, gay or bi-sexual as too ridged and fixed, these people may prefer to self-identify as queer.

Dib’s Freedom Story can be used to explore the themes of gender and sexuality and generate group discussions about what these terms mean.

Using inclusive language and examples

When teaching young people about romantic and sexual relationships it is important that we use inclusive language to ensure that all students feel welcome. This can be achieved by using a range of examples/scenarios and pronouns when teaching about gender, sexuality and relationships. For example, if you consistently use the scenario of a boy and girl forming romantic or sexual feelings for each other, students who are same sex attracted may have trouble identifying with the lesson. Dib’s Freedom Story provides same sex attracted scenarios that can be used in the classroom to explore relationships. Using examples like this will also help same sex attracted students feel supported with their sexuality.

Valuing diversity

For young people, going through puberty and developing romantic or sexual feelings for someone can be a confronting time. It is important that young people are given information about the changes they are going through and that they understand that it is a normal part of life. For young people who are same sex attracted or gender diverse there may be added stresses around fear of being rejected by family and friends or being judged and bullied. Dib’s Freedom Story can be used in the classroom to make same sex attracted students feel valued and included. Dib’s Freedom Story can also be used to demonstrate that it is important to be respectful and kind to everyone regardless of their gender and sexuality. fact sheets to share with students

Next steps

  • Watch Dib's Freedom Story.
  • Have a look at creating a supportive learning environment.
  • Use a variety of examples and pronouns when teaching about sexuality, relationships and gender.
  • Encourage students to be supportive and kind to one another.
  • If you notice a young person struggling with gender or sexuality encourage them to seek help.