What Is An LGBTQ-Inclusive School?

Research shows that students who experience acceptance at school are more engaged in learning and more motivated and committed to school, and that students in schools with a greater sense of community perform better in school and have higher educational aspirations.

It’s simple: students who don’t feel safe can’t focus on learning, and once they feel like they belong, they do better in school. Using an LGBTQ-inclusive framework, educators can identify key areas of improvement to create safe learning spaces for all students. Here are some hallmarks of LGBTQ-inclusive schools:

LGBTQ-inclusive schools welcome all families.

Families are children’s first point of reference for viewing the world and forming their identities. It is important for students to see their families reflected at school and to know that their families matter. Students perform better academically and socially when there is a positive relationship between families and schools. LGBTQ-inclusive schools welcome and embrace all family structures and help students understand that the most important part of a family is love.

LGBTQ-inclusive schools reject gender stereotypes.

An LGBTQ-inclusive school is a gender-inclusive school by allowing all gender identities and expressions to succeed academically, athletically, artistically and socially. Statements like “Boys don’t wear pink,” or “Girls can’t play football” limit students’ aspirations and well-being. LGBTQ-inclusive schools allow all students to thrive with messages like “all students can wear pink,” and “girls can play all sports!”

LGBTQ-inclusive schools address all forms of bullying.

In LGBTQ-inclusive schools, teachers and school staff stop all bias-based bullying. Bias-based bullying can include bullying based upon:

  • LGBTQ identity
  • Gender identity and expression
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Size
  • Ability

Besides interrupting bullying behavior, schools that effectively address bullying also teach students why bullying is hurtful and give students the tools to respect all members of the community.