Monday, August 06, 2012

Empower LGBT Toolkit


In February in conjunction with LGBT History Month I had the pleasure of facilitating a training workshop in York for equality staff in Further Education for Pinnacle Training Solutions which went really well.
Colleges are presently at the forefront of tackling LGBT discrimination which it really important because so many LGBT people fall far short of their academic potential at school due to the relentless bullying and harassment they have to endure. 
All too many schools seem to have ignored the widespread introduction of “gay” slang to describe anything considered to be “gross”, “minging” or “bad”. Similar discriminatory words referring to race religion or disability have not been tolerated, whilst LGBT based slang has been allowed to become acceptable. Recent research has shown that negative associations with the word gay, does increase anti gay bias, 
The government is now beginning to tackle homophobia and transphobia with the publication of their Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. action Plan and more recently the Trans Action Plan.
These two publications set out a clear strategy by this government to work with all sectors, especially education in tackling discrimination and bullying.
By far the best way to address the issue in education is to engage students in open discussion about LGBT issues and apply a zero tolerance policy to prejudicial language and behaviour. 
To help with this process Pinnacle training Solutions have produced an excellent online training too called the Empower LGBT ToolkitAll participants in my workshop were asked to complete this programme before attending which helped to encourage better discussion and debate.
Whilst this could work as a good standalone training tool, I feel it is better employed as a preparation tool prior to an interactive session where students and staff can then raise questions that have arisen from undertaking the online training.
The toolkit is available free to anyone – and is especially recommended for all FE colleges or Schools.
I know we are well past LGBT History Month but I still recommend that you forward this link to all staff and encourage them to use it in the new semester to work with students.

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