Supporting LGBT young people
Schools play a vital role in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people.
As around 6% of the UK population (3.9 million people) may identify as LGBT, each school is likely to have 2 lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils per class and one trans young person per year group.
A report from Young Healthwatch Wiltshire (2022) gathered views from those aged 11-25 about current local support available.
LGBT young people may worry that those around them will react negatively to who they are and often experience high levels of bullying in school. Creating an inclusive environment is a key part of making LGBT young people feel welcome and valued at school.
The law is clear that schools must meet the needs of all LGBT young people and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. It is important that Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) meets the needs of all young people.
Schools can help create an inclusive environment in which LGBT young people will feel safe, happy and fulfil their potential if they:
- Take a whole school approach to tackling HBT bullying and language
- Challenge gender stereotypes from an early age
- Ensure LGBT people and different families form part of inclusive RSE and other curriculum areas
- Make LGBT people visible in aspects of school life including library books, positive posters and special events
- Work with other schools and organisations to meet the needs of pupils, including the provision of information and support
All staff, not just LGBT staff, can be important role models for all young people by talking positively about LGBT people.
LGBT+ Standards for Schools
The Wiltshire Healthy Schools programme asks schools to provide evidence that RSE meets the needs of all pupils and that action is taken to address discriminatory language. Addressing the needs of LGBT pupils forms part of PSHE education training for school staff.
Other useful resources
LGBT-inclusive RSHE: Putting it into Practice (Stonewall, 2021)
LGBT inclusive book lists (ages 2 - 15+) from a range of publishers
Organisations that offer advice and support
The Beaumont Society - Help and advice for individuals and families. UK charity
Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) - a charity providing training, resources and support services to affirm the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning (LGBT+) people.
Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gay Men (FFLAG) - FFLAG is a national voluntary organisation and registered charity dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual daughters and sons.
Gendered Intelligence - Support for Young people, families, professionals. UK charity, Lottery funded.
GIRES - information for trans people, their families and professionals who care for them.
The Intercom Trust - is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ charity working across the South West, providing a range of help and support.
The LGBT Consortium - The LGBT Consortium Anti-Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic (HBT) Bullying Alliance (‘The Alliance’) are a nationwide partnership of LGBT organisations. UK charity
Mermaids - Supports children and teenagers (up to 19) who are dealing with gender identity issues, as well as their parents/carers and families.
NHS Choices website signpost to gender dysphoria clinics
The Proud Trust - For young people, professionals. Training, resources, info. UK charity
Schools Out - their overarching goal is to make schools and educational institutions safe spaces for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities. Website offers articles, research and other resources.
Stonewall - Campaigning and educational charity for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality. Education Champions for schools.