The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet has called for protection to LGBT people during the current pandemic.
During lockdown, many LGBT learners will find themselves without their support systems and safe spaces, and some will experience discrimination and abuse in their home due to being LGBT. Regardless of whether learners are out at home or not, we know that the mental health impact of lockdown will be great for many. Homelessness charities in the UK say they are seeing a rise in demand from LGBT youth who need help due to not being able to live safely with their families during the pandemic.
Although this is a difficult time for everyone, we know that national crises always strike hardest for the most marginalised. Virtual spaces can provide a much needed safe and affirming experience for learners and can be a vessel to show support for the LGBT community.
Cyber-bullying: Treat anti-LGBT language like any other type of harassment or bullying. Be aware that bullying will now be more likely to occur entirely online and be mindful of the ability of perpetrators of bullying to abuse online platforms that you are using in your teaching.
Inclusive language: Make your preferred pronouns explicit at the start of the class and add them to your signature/your name on the virtual platform you are using, where possible. If appropriate, encourage others to do the same.
Curriculum: Stonewall offers substantive home learnings packs that can help in designing an LGBT affirming and inclusive curriculum for all ages. https://www.stonewall.org.uk/best-practice-toolkits-and-resources-0
Recognition: Acknowledge the contributions of LGBT scholars to your field, observe Pride month and include relevant history, LGBT current events and issues in the learning activities you design.
Signpost: Make reference to relevant online support resources, such as from LGBT Youth https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/our-services-for-young-people/