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Start with one thing

There is a lot of talk about what teachers should do to create inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ + students. But the amount of information and resources available can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What is the right thing to do? Teachers are not therapists and should not take on this role. In some areas, teachers may be barred from being inclusive.

This can put teachers in a difficult position.

Every teacher wants the best for their students. So what can they do, regardless of their situation, to create an inclusive environment? These are Theaterfolk 2021–2022 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group suggestions:

* Know the names of your students and greet them by name every day. Don’t underestimate the connection you can make on your own.

* Use gender-neutral terms as much as possible.

* There are many “outside” theater artists. Bring some visibility to those identities by hanging posters featuring these artists.

* A member of the panel told us: “I am not called to the carpet for the things my students create. I’m not doing this, it’s the students. ” What can your students create and bring to class that promotes inclusion?

* Start networking. You may feel that you are alone in this situation, but you are not. Comfort yourself knowing that you are not alone.

* Prioritize time for connection and community in your classroom. Establish yourself as someone to whom students can come for anything.

* Refers to each in the way they want to be referred.

* Do not group students by sex for activities. If you have to classify students, do it in any other way. For example, use a pack of books and group by color or number, or have students line up by height, birthday, or alphabetical order, and then pair them.

Disclaimer: Consult your district administration and policy about anything discussed in this article about LGBTQ + (LGBTQIA, LGBTQ2S), as laws and policies vary.

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