GUEST BLOG – Reflecting during LGBTQ+ History Month
LGBTQ+ History Month is a prime opportunity to reflect on our current values, knowledge and opinions of LGBTQ+ issues.
Jennie Appleyard, teacher and Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Champion at Leeds City College, puts pen to paper in a guest blog which reflects on the significance of the month and the steps towards making a change.
My efforts in making a difference
I find that LGBTQ+ History Month is a useful time to reflect on what I’m teaching and update my resources and activities to reflect a more inclusive, well-rounded approach.
Although I strive to include LGBTQ+ lives in all of my work, I am consciously trying to educate myself about the experiences and needs of trans and non-binary people.
Important role models
My heroines are Jenny and Kate, the two women who taught my English A level. They were a couple, who were always open and honest with our small tutor group. It was important for me to have two lesbian role models who supported each other and shared their lives, which is always a positive step in helping overcoming any stigma or prejudices.
My hope is to be a role model for the young people and adults that I teach. I’m often the first person in a position of authority who has ‘come out’ to them, and we need to do more to normalise this and help those who identify as LGBTQ+ to feel comfortable in their surroundings and be themselves.
Moving in the right direction
What I hope to contribute to people’s learning is to promote the fact that many individuals identify as LGBTQ+ and we appreciate those who take the time to understand current issues and terms.
One key issue is that the sexualisation of our identity is extremely damaging. Heterosexual and cisgender (cis) people are typically seen through a ‘normal’ lens; they are seen as people who have jobs, go shopping, walk their dogs etc, whereas we are seen first and foremost through a sexualised lens, whereby our sexuality seems to define who we are. More work needs to be done in allowing society to see the LGBTQ+ community as people, whose voices are respected and heard.