Call to ‘show and tell’ our diversity in primary classrooms

LGBT+ Teachers’ Group roll out all-island competition focused on LGBT+ inclusion in schools.

The INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group announce the return of the ‘Different Families, Same Love’ competition, which will run in classrooms across the country in May 2019. To mark International Family Equality Day (IFED) and International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), the group are asking primary teachers to take action in their classrooms in celebration of the diversity of people and families in Ireland.

The ‘LGBTIreland’ report in 2016 found that the most common age for an individual to realise their LGBT+ identity was 12 years old, which roughly equates to sixth class in primary school. It also found that in comparison with their peers, LGBTI young people reported twice the level of self-harm, three times the level of attempted suicide and four times the level of severe/extremely severe stress, anxiety and depression. Teachers can play an incredibly important role in countering these statistics by ensuring age appropriate, equal representation of LGBT+ identities and families in a positive light through classroom discussions and activities.

When schools are proactive in ensuring positive LGBT+ representation and strive to make all children and young people feel included, all students have a greater sense of well-being.

The ‘Different Families, Same Love’ competition offers teachers a chance to showcase their work in this regard and to win prizes for their classrooms. Competition entries, like families, can take many forms and schools can choose to create individual, group or class artwork, comics, stories, poems, plays, songs, videos, or podcasts based on the theme ‘Different Families, Same Love’. Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, relevance to the theme and how well the learning was shared with wider audiences.

Cecelia Gavigan, Chairperson of the INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group said, “Families are the primary lens through which children view the world. It is vitally important for each child, but especially those from same-sex headed families, to see all types of family positively represented in our classrooms. This competition, and the accompanying resources, is a great impetus to teachers to do just that.”

Feargal Brougham, INTO President said, “This creative yet practical competition ensures that teachers right across the country can play their part in ensuring our schools and classrooms
truly represent all types of family and loving relationships. I call on all teachers to roll up their sleeves and get involved in this year’s competition.”