October has been LGBTQIA+ History Month. Despite the community already celebrating Pride Month in June, October observes the history behind the community and recognises its importance and the significance it has on how they are viewed and treated today.
Ozford prides itself on its diverse community and encourages compassion and respect towards others. Further to this, we promote the learning and understanding of others and their backgrounds. It’s important for places of education to be welcoming spaces for all students. So how can you show support for the LBTQIA+ community and how can your school or place of work do better to provide inclusiveness?
The first step in being an ally is understanding the adversity these groups face. Recognising that people can face discrimination in their day to day lives including school or the workplace is crucial to knowing what steps to take to avoid this from happening. Ensure that there is a safe space for them to go, and if there isn’t request one and post safe space signs. Stand up against homophobia and help to educate these people on what is and isn’t appropriate to say. People of all ages sometimes use homophobic words or expressions, sometimes these are unintentional and other times they are deliberate remarks. Either way it is crucial to stand up to these people and be a role model for kindness and inclusion by pointing out their unacceptable behaviour or speech.
Make room for LGBTQ people to exist. Incorporating LGBT history and recognition into your work is important to educate people but also acknowledge the LGBT existence. Schools and colleges should be integrating related topics in to the curriculum, while staff and students should be listening and providing opportunities to recognise and celebrate them. Do more than just show up for Pride; organise events that welcome and support these groups to show them you have their back.
If you work or study with an LGBT person, show them they can be authentic around you. You should do the utmost to make them feel comfortable in your presence. Many of these people mute their expressions and hold back on their character out of fear that they won’t be accepted. It’s important to demonstrate they can be themselves around you and you should avoid making assumptions about people. It’s important to read up and stay informed on these communities and their history and know the hardship they experience daily and the fights they have ahead.
For more information on how you can be an ally, click the links below for useful links and resources and for LGBTQIA+ events in Melbourne.
Ozford continues to improve its standards for supporting the diverse staff and students that walk through its doors and will continue to be a safe place for all.