Date
17 June 2019

Use inclusive language to affirm diversity

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Developing an inclusive classroom and curriculum’

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Explore gender norms

Explore gender norms

Young people talk about the influences of gender norms and the binary division that occurs within school and society.

Avoid gendered language

Avoid gendered language

Reflect on the language you use in the classrooom.

A person’s name and pronouns are an important part of their identity.

Using gendered language such as “girls and boys”, “ladies and gentlemen” can be alienating for gender non-conforming and gender diverse students.

Avoid this by using vocabulary such as  “students”, “class”, “crew”, “everyone”, “people” or “year X”, which is more inclusive.

Embed inclusive language

Embed inclusive language

Even small gestures can feel enormous to an individual student.

Consider ways to increase the use of gender-diverse language in your classroom.

Consider presenting:

  • a short story with same-sex parents in the family
  • a maths problem where Dan and his boyfriend, Jai, order a pizza
  • scenarios with gender-neutral language
  • visuals and images that represent diverse sexual identities 
  • LGBTIQA+ role models, such as artists, writers, and historical figures in class topics.

Source: 10 ways educators can make schools safer for LGBT youth (opens in a new tab/window)

Use preferred pronouns

Use preferred pronouns

When you are working with young people, respect their right to “self- identify” – to choose the words they are most comfortable identifying with.

Use students’ chosen names

Use students’ chosen names

“The day that my friends at school said “she” instead of “he” and I could be myself was the best day of my life.”

Safe Schools Coalition Australia

Useful resources

Useful resources

Key terms and concepts in understanding gender diversity and sexual orientation among students

Key terms and concepts in understanding gender diversity and sexual orientation among students

Read time: 11 min

Publisher: American Psychological Association

Download PDF

Website

A gender identity glossary for schools

Publisher: University of Southern California

Visit website

Next steps

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students

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