The following information provides you with tips on how to foster an LGBTQIA+ classroom. 

So where are there opportunities for us to contribute to a culture in which our LGBTQIA+ learners can thrive? What power do I have in my personal sphere of influence to make changes toward LGBTQIA+ inclusion?  

You can begin by sharing your pronouns with learners and offering them to share theirs. When more folks choose to share their pronouns, it normalizes the process of sharing so that others, like Trans or Nonbinary folks, do not feel further outcasted if they choose to share. The Center for Inclusion and Social Change has resources that are helpful in navigating the use of pronouns, safe zone trainings, and more.  

In addition to creating avenues for learners to share names and pronouns that is ongoing and accessible and you doing the same, there are several other ways that you can foster a LGBTQIA+ environment in the classroom:

  • Integrate LGBTQIA+ & other identity affirming language in syllabus & course introduction. 
  • Create avenues for students to provide feedback.
  • Acknowledge when assumptions are made, especially if it was by you. 
  • Be the connection point to resources – point out gender inclusive bathrooms, how to change name on Zoom, articles for more information, etc.
  • Asking questions such as “How might this assignment/ policy impact LGBTQIA+ people? How might it impact trans people? 
    • Consider privacy
  • Intentionally integrate LGBTQIA+ perspectives/ experiences into content.
    • Who is on your course reading list?
    • What names/ pronouns do you use to write problems or talk about fold in the third person?
    • What experts can you pull in
  • Create opportunities for folks to see possibility models.
    • Who are influential folks you can uplift?
    • Who are alumni or current professionals you can connect folks to?
    • What professional organizations can they be a part of? 
  • Audit your written materials, and your verbal communication will follow.
    • Opt for gender inclusive language over gendered language. 
    • Where are assumptions showing up that can result in barriers? 

Here are a few of their suggestions for how faculty can create an inclusive classroom environment:

  • If you accidentally make a mistake with a student’s pronoun, check in with them before or after class or through email, rather than during class, since it just draws more attention to that student. 
  • Use gender-inclusive language (they/theirs; the name “student” in general) until you know a student’s pronouns. 
  • Be empathetic to the individual. Different identities may react differently in the classroom.
  • Show each student that they are important on the individual level by asking all students simple, personal questions in class, such as what is your favorite color.
  • Be very explicit with students. Distributing notecards, on which they can share their pronouns and any pertinent information is helpful. 

Moving forward, how could you become involved? Here are some suggestions: