Teaching & Learning
What are the key concerns for students?
Despite advances in social and human rights for LGBTIQ+ people, discrimination, prejudice, exclusion and oppression continue to plague many aspects of their daily lives. This significantly impacts their mental health and may lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide or suicidal thoughts. Invisibility in university student data and lack of curricula representation further compounds discriminatory and exclusionary experiences for LGBTIQ+ students.
What obstacles do staff face?
Staff often lack the confidence, knowledge and deeper understanding about LGBTIQ+ people and their language and experiences rather than being intentionally homo/bi/trans-phobic. Not wanting to ‘get it wrong’ leads to saying nothing, which may further exclude LGBTIQ+ students from teaching and learning environments.
What can staff do?
- cultivate respectful learning environments
- understand LGBTIQ+ terminology
- use inclusive language, such as non-gendered pronoun usage
- challenge discriminatory or abusive language and behaviour
- facilitate open and safe classroom discussions about sex, gender and sexuality (where relevant to unit content)
- represent LGBTIQ+ content in the curriculum and teaching LGBTIQ+ issues (where relevant)
- avoid content that is negative, pathologises, victimises or sensationalises LGBTIQ+ people and their concerns and experiences
- set flexible assessments (unit design permitting) that enables students to explore topics of personal interest
- be a visible role model to students, whether as an LGBTIQ+ staff member or ally
For a guide on how to implement these inclusive teaching strategies refer to Teaching LGBTIQ+ students. Included here is a comprehensive glossary and further information, resources and supports services.
Deakin case study: Introducing trans* identities to Health students
This short video by Dr Julie Peters—renowned transgender writer, activist and scholar—produced for HSH313 Contemporary Health Issues students, introduces and contextualises a contemporary LGBTIQ+ health issue within course learning outcomes and health profession standards. This was designed to both reinforce student code of conduct and anticipate possible student distress.