Safe Schools: Acceptance of all.

Recently I went to a Safe Schools Coalition WA introductory workshop. The aim of the workshop was to provide information and educate participants on ways to
‘Create safe and inclusive environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.’ I found the workshop very informative and presented very well.

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More and more we are seeing students in our schools who present as LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer). And I think it is fabulous. As a Teacher we are in a position to support our young students, and I like to think that I can support them and encourage them to be who they want to be, or simply embrace who they are.

In our school population right now I can identify trans kids, gay and lesbian kids, and kids who are just expressive in unique ways. They may not know exactly what it all means, but that’s okay.

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We learn that gender is on a sliding scale, and we do not all fit neatly into the category of male and female, as we are so assigned at birth. We learnt the struggle of an intersex baby, where often a doctor decides the fate of the gender only days into the birth of a child, not knowing if this the correct representation. How does this still happen? I learnt you can’t say hermaphrodite anymore, intersex people do not like that term.

We also learned that Transgender people have been around for many years, forever even, and in some cultures they are considered to have demigod status. The term “Two spirits” was used to describe a trans person in one culture. How beautiful!

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Sexuality is based on who you are physically attracted to. We learnt about pan sexual, being more attracted to a person rather than a gender. This made sense to me. No one hardly is typically feminine or masculine these days, we are all a blend of everything, well some of us are anyhow. I like to think I am. Lately I hate wearing dresses, or skirts. I have short hair and have been called a Lesbian numerous times, but I am not sexually attracted to women. I like to wear lipstick sometimes. I do wear makeup most days, but see myself as a tomboy. It can be very confusing, even to myself!

Lately I have even been questioning who I am attracted to. It is not typically men. Sometimes, sometimes not. Perhaps more fitting is the term asexual, or pan sexual, more depending on a person. A good friend taught me that term a few years ago, and I thought it was quite clever. She was young, but very wise, and open minded, I respect that!

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We are genderised from a very early age. Boys things, girls things, and depending on how strict your parents are, you may have to conform to one or the other. I was lucky, my parents were flexible, and allowed me to be me. I wore dresses, but I was also a tom boy. I loved to run around with the boys, play ball sports, I was very athletic. I could kick a footy as well as the boys, and beat them in running races. I rode my bike everywhere, and still do. I cut my hair short when I was about 7 or 8, because my Mum had a good friend with really short hair and I thought it looked really cool. She was straight. Although we did know a few gay men, lesbians were not really around.

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Strangely I hated my short hair cut! I could no longer wear the pretty ribbons and clips Mum would put in my hair every day. But mostly, I looked like a boy! I was a pretty girl, but muscular and fit and brown from running around outside playing sport. One of my Dad’s friends once referred to me as a “big strong girl” at one point in my youth, I felt quite taken aback by that comment at the time. But now I think it is a good thing. Strong and a girl, that is a good thing!

 

Improving the awareness in schools and educating ourselves about the many differences we all have is a very good idea. LGBTIQ’s have been around for a long time. We need to improve our awareness, be considerate of others and embrace our differences. We don’t all fit in a neat little box, that would make life pretty dull!

The rainbow flag shines above this post as I write, I felt it was a fitting post! Embrace who you are, be proud, and mostly be yourself.

Live your truth!

Anita xx

 

 

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