New School Resource for working with LGBT Students welcomed in the Mid-West
Limerick based charity, GOSHH, has welcomed a new resource for Post-Primary Schools which provides guidance on how to create a safe, supportive and affirmative environment for LGBT young people in schools. ‘Being LGBT in School’ was launched by GLEN in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills and will be distributed to all Post-Primary Schools in Ireland.
GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health and HIV) are delighted that this resource includes the first ever guidance on supporting students who are Trans*.
GOSHH have been providing support to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) people in the Mid-West region for over 30 years. They support LGBT young people through one-to-one support, peer support groups, and awareness training for professionals working with young people. Over the last two years significantly more young people who identify as Trans* have been engaging with their support services. This is a positive outcome of the increased visibility and dialogue in Ireland regarding issues affecting young people who identify as Trans*, and also a greater understanding of gender identity.
In response, GOSHH are offering a one-day workshop on Supporting Trans* Youth in Limerick on April 15th. This is open to all professionals working with young people in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. The workshop will provide a safe to place to explore topics such as what it means to identify as Trans*, how to support Trans* young people in an informed and respectful way, and explorations of best practice guidelines.
“The support that a Trans*young person receives from their family, friends, school and community has a huge impact on their mental health. Trans* young people are at high risk of negative mental health, self-harm and suicide. But the good news is that that with informed, respectful support, in an environment which challenges transphobia, Trans* young people may be confident and content members of their community” says Rachel Newland, GOSHH youth worker.
One young person in Limerick explains how positive, informed support has helped him, and offers some advice to teachers: “I am very lucky with the support I got when coming out as trans. My friends and family stood by me and loved me for who I truly am. When I came out to my principal and teachers they had no issues and my school is a firm Catholic school. I was allowed to change uniform and treated like one of the boys. Having support is great but the mental battle is always an issue as you fear people don’t see you as what you identify as. My best advice for teachers would be to be careful about the pronouns. If you make a mistake and realise then apologise and correct yourself. It shows that you remembered and respect their pronouns and really makes a difference to the student. Other students will listen and correct themselves if they stumble on the pronouns too.”
The workshop offered by GOSHH, is integrative of the guidelines provided by ‘Being LGBT in School’, which has many practical and useful suggestions such as this, around best practice for working with Trans* youth.
Sandra Irwin-Gowran of GLEN says: “We hope that young LGBT people in our schools will see this resource as a beacon of hope that the goodwill that now exists among the education community and broad Irish public will result in transformed school climates that fully include and value them.”
To book your place on the workshop please visit www.goshh.ie/transyouth or phone 061 314354 if you would like to register for the SUPPORTING TRANSGENDER* YOUTH workshop, or if you are interested in information or support around gender or orientation.
Being LGBT in School is available at www.glen.ie