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Teaching Acceptance in Schools - How Teachers Can Help Gay Students

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Set the tone and lead by example.
Majority of students don't report incidents of anti-gay harassment because they believe their teachers or the administration either don't care or can't do anything to change the situation. That's why it's important to establish a tone of zero acceptance of anti-gay abuse at the beginning of and throughout the entire school year.

Although authoritative statements to your students about your low tolerance for anti-gay comments or harassment is recommended, it also helps to lead by example.

Anti-gay sentiment among teens is rooted in many places, but most often by parents, family members or even friends who leave lasting negative impressions of LGBT people. Most of the anti-gay sentiment they hear is based on ignorance and lack of awareness.

You can help counter negative gay sentiment by showing your students positive examples of LGBT people in our society. Mention the influences prominent and everyday LGBT people have on our culture. Speak with comfort and confidence, mentioning LGBT people or issues in casual conversations. (Your students will pick up on your high level of comfort with LGBT topics and will hopefully follow suit.)

Discuss how harmful verbal assaults can be to any person. Share the student harassment statistics given in the previous step and the high gay teen suicide rate of 33%. Then express how through your support and their acceptance of LGBT people you hope to lower those statistics.

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