Celebrating Pride Month
2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City in late June of 1969, and are seen by many as the beginning of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Alongside February (LGBTQ+ History Month), June, as Pride month, is also an excellent opportunity to celebrate diversity. At Prospero Teaching, we value diversity and inclusion amongst our staff, candidates and schools.
Respecting others is a key British Value, required to be taught in schools and same-sex relationships a part of the new Relationships and Sex Education policy coming into force in 2020. Josh, an ex-teacher on our Training & Development Team, experienced nothing but positives being an openly gay teacher and completely agrees with this article about the importance of a wide variety of role models needed for students. He’s put together a list of a few ways you can celebrate pride month yourself and at school below…
Educate yourself and others
Use inclusive language – know your language and the correct terminology to use when referring to people in the LGBTQ+ community to avoid offence and embarrassment. Stonewall has a great glossary here and they continue to help tackle homophobic and transphobic languages in schools through different campaigns.
Learn about LGBTQ+ leaders and figures in history – there is a wide range of resources out there regarding LGBTQ+ history and famous figures from all time periods but a great way to engage students may be through the new series of images on the Pop’n’Olly Instagram account.
Learn about the issues – whilst LGBT+ rights have come leaps and bounds in the last few decades there are still many issues facing LGBTQ+ people around the world. It is important for everyone to understand the privilege they may have compared to others. Youth suicide is higher in LGB youth, Anti-LGBTQ+ legislations are still being tabled in the US, the death penalty and restrictive laws for being LGBTQ+ are still prevalent across the world (see the recent Brunei controversy) and here in the UK protests are happening outside primary schools that teach children that LGBTQ+ people exist.
Be an activist and ally
Embrace the rainbow – I’m not talking about swimming in Skittles, but instead using the rainbow flag – the six stip design finalised 50 years ago. Fly the flag in your classroom or school, make some rainbow flag art projects or explore the wide range of flags used now to represent many different minority groups.
Wear inclusive clothing and support LGBTQ+ businesses – show your support for pride through supportive clothing or products but make sure that any larger businesses using the rainbow to sell products are, in some way, supporting the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ people are often marginalized by society and so supporting local businesses at a grassroots level is very important.
Donate to or volunteer for LGBTQ+ nonprofits – much LGBTQ+ community support relies on donations and so holding a charity event at school can be a great idea to engage student enterprise whilst supporting a good cause.
Host a Pride movie marathon and promote literature – there are loads of excellent films, documentaries, series and books that celebrate LGBTQ+ culture. This Book Is Gay is a personal favourite of mine that I think every teacher and parent should read, and every school library stock. Book-wise there are lists, lists and lists of appropriate reading for a display or book club in your school.
Attend a city-wide pride event – yes it’s a great excuse to party but remember that Pride is both a celebration of diversity and inclusion but also has origins in protest and is still vital in campaigning for further equality. Portsmouth Grammar School attends their city’s parade each year and even have their own Pride society.