As children get older and start to understand more about concepts such as sexuality and gender identity, it is natural that they are likely to have some questions. They might have questions about their own sexuality and identity, or they may just be curious about certain topics.
February is LGBT History Month in the UK and different events to celebrate this will be happening to raise awareness about some of the key LGBT historical moments.. This is a good opportunity to start some conversations with your child about LGBT+ topics. If you are unsure how to talk to your child about LGBT+ topics, then here are some tips:
Do some LGBT+ research
There are a lot of different terms used to discuss sexuality and identity, so it may help you to find out more about the different terms, so you understand more about each one when you are talking to your child. It may also help to find out more about the history of LGBT+ rights. Some websites that are great for this are: Stonewall, LGBT History Month and The Proud Trust.
Start an open conversation
If you have not spoken about LGBT+ topics with your child before, a good place to start is to bring up a relevant conversation or develop into it from a topic they are talking about. This could be talking about it being LGBT+ History Month or talking about a public figure who is openly LGBT+. You might find that your child knows a lot more about LGBT+ than you think, as they will have read information on social media or spoken to friends at school.
It is important that you show your child that it is fine to talk about these topics and that you are happy to try and answer all of the questions that you know the answers to. For any questions that you do not know the answer to, you can research the answers together, if you think it is appropriate knowledge for their age. You should encourage ongoing discussions about LGBT+ topics and find teachable moments, for example, when you are watching a relevant topic on TV.
Take an informal approach
Try not to approach the conversation as if you are trying to get information out of them, such as their own sexuality. Talk about LGBT+ topics from a general point of view unless your child specifically wants to talk about their own views or feelings. If your child feels that you are pushing them to reveal something they are uncomfortable with talking about, the conversation might not go much further. Also, if they feel that you look uncomfortable talking about the topics, then this could also prevent them from opening up and talking freely.
Talk about discrimination and bullying
Talk to your child about how important it is to treat everyone with fairness and equality but that not all members of society might share the same views on LGBT+ topics. It may help to discuss countries where it is still illegal for people to be gay and explain that they might come across people in life who do not support LGBT+ rights. You should explain that people are allowed to have different views but that bullying and discrimination is not acceptable.
At Gateways, everyone is treated as an individual and valued as such. Our superb pastoral support starts with the Form Tutor and extends across the whole staff so that all pupils can find someone they feel comfortable talking to about any issue. This ethos is integral to our school culture and is one of the things that makes Gateways a happy school for everyone.