A NATIONAL resource has been launched to help teachers make high schools more inclusive and knowledgeable on sexual and gender diverse students.
The resource, called All of Us, was developed by Minus18 and Safe Schools Coalition Australia and funded by the Federal Government.
The tool kit includes a unit guide with seven lessons, each including a video that captures the real life experience of a young LGBTI person.
— Andrew Westle (@AndrewWestle) November 26, 2015
Trans activist and Minus18 member Margot Fink played a major role in the creation of the three-year project and featured in one of the videos.
“We thought we’d spend a few months, maybe a year developing this campaign, but the response was phenomenal,” she told the Star Observer.
“We crowd funded and really saw the community was just crying out for this, so it’s just kind of evolved into this enormous thing and there’s nothing else like it.”
Fink believes the resource will make a difference to high school students discovering or coming to terms with their sexual or gender identities.
“Unfortunately fear and isolation are way too common in our community for LGBTI young people,” she said.
“To be able to give positive and informative stories as part of teaching is an enormous way to not only support young people to affirm their identities, but for their peers and teachers to actually better recognise when discrimination happens and how to make sure that they’re included.”
— Jill Stark (@jillastark) November 26, 2015
University student Jordan Lo Piccolo is also featured in one of the videos, in which he discusses his bisexual identity.
“It’s been an incredible experience, I’m so glad it’s happening,” he told the Star Observer.
“I’d never met a gay or bisexual person until I was in year 11 and that just made it so much harder, so I’m really grateful that young people are going to be able to see this.
“I just hope that it makes coming out easier… it is really difficult, we all experience that homophobia and biphobia and it’s just one of those things that shouldn’t be happening.”
All of Us aims to tackle a range of topics from understanding and breaking down gender binaries to activities on how students can be an ally to their LGBTI peers.
The resource will be taught in the Health and Physical Education learning area of the Australian curriculum for years seven and eight.
“Even though it’s part of the Australian curriculum to teach sexual and gender diversity, there haven’t been any resources available to empower teachers to do that,” he told the Star Observer.
“Not only is this the first of its kind, but it’s created by young people, and that makes it engaging and real.
“When you’re talking about the experiences of young LGBTI people that’s what you want, you want something authentic.”
In Victoria alone there have already been 170 expressions of interest for the All of Us resource.
Safe Schools Coalition Australia national program director Sally Richardson said the early years of high school were some of the most critical.
“Because it is for year seven and eight, I think that’s an ideal time to introduce the concepts of difference and diversity and the acceptance of LGBTI people in schools,” she told the Star Observer.
“That’s a great way to start your secondary education, by having such positive messages.”