Date
17 June 2019

Provide safe spaces, changing rooms and school trips

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs’

Understand threats to wellbeing

Understand threats to wellbeing

Many LGBTIQA+ students face challenging situations and have identified that they:
  • have experienced verbal slurs relating to gender identity
  • are worried about threats of physical harm or harassment
  • feel uncomfortable getting changed in front of others
  • are unable to access a space aligned to their gender identity
  • “hold on” or have to travel longer distances to get to assigned safe spaces
  • need to change in spaces with peers who have caused harassment.

Source: Why transgender students need safe bathrooms (opens in a new tab/window)

Ask about experiences in PE and sport

Ask about experiences in PE and sport

LGBTIQA+ students can find sports and physical education classes particularly stressful.

Document findings and discuss with students ways to create more inclusive environments.

Many students:

  • have negative experiences in physical education classes 
  • identify physical education classes as likely locations for homophobia and transphobia to be expressed
  • experience verbal slurs
  • experience incidents of physical abuse
  • experience feelings of rejection due to their sexuality and gender identity
  • are worried about discrimination from coaches
  • are unable to access gender-neutral shower, toilets, and changing areas
  • feel uncomfortable with gender-specific uniforms
  • feel uncomfortable playing in a gender-specific sports team.

Source: Out on the fields: Findings and statistics (opens in a new tab/window)

Provide safe spaces and access to support

Provide safe spaces and access to support

Designate safe spaces within the school and ensure students know where they can immediately access support.
  • library, staffroom, or identified classroom
  • gender-neutral bathrooms and changing areas
  • school medical centre
  • peer support, such as queer-straight alliance groups or rainbow diversity groups
  • supportive adults who are informed and knowledgeable
  • school youth worker, counsellor, or nurse
  • pastoral care staff
  • supportive allies.

Make changing rooms safe

Make changing rooms safe

A student should be able to change clothes safely in a changing room, no matter who they are.
  • Consult and work with students to identify and create safe spaces. 
  • Private changing spaces should be available, either within the changing room or in a private space or bathroom nearby.
  • Have procedures in place for out-of-school sports or activities to ensure students have access to privacy and safety.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse students (opens in a new tab/window)

Inclusively design school trips

Inclusively design school trips

Ask students about the support they might need on trips outside school.

Discuss preferred sleeping arrangements and changing room needs or situations that could be unsafe or embarrassing.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Guide to supporting a student to affirm or transition gender identity at school

Read time: 9 min

Publisher: Education Services Australia

Visit website

Safe space kit Guide to being an ally to LGBT students

Safe space kit: Guide to being an ally to LGBT students

Read time: 61 min

Publisher: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

Download PDF

Out on the fields

Out on the fields

Read time: 6 min

Publisher: Out on the Fields 2015

Download PDF

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs”:

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students

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