We have all grown up reading the famous romantic tales of Romeo and Juliet or Catherine and Heathcliff. Every love story followed that of a man loving a woman. Thinking back, did you ever come across a romantic narrative that included the LGBT community in any way?
Our education system plays a vital role in developing acceptance of the queer community. Growing up, many LGBT individuals have faced a continued lack of empathy and respect for their sexual orientations. Strict heteronormative attitudes continue to exist throughout history, literature and societal norms. The concept that attraction and romantic relationships can only exist between a man and woman is a defining reason that till this day, the LGBT community isn’t considered normal.
Developing school curriculums
Many schools and households still fail to understand and normalize LGBT concepts, in turn creating a hostile and stereotypical society for queer individuals. Education is a stepping stone in building character and learning social norms since adolescence. If the society at large fails to address that homosexuality and non-linear personalities exist, it is evident that the LGBT community will remain marginalized. Normalizing the LGBT community can only be done through developing a curriculum and educational policy that is inclusive and diverse. Our current school system reflects homophobic tendencies and outdated concepts when it comes to addressing diverse groups of individuals. School organizations need to identify biasedness and stereotypical behaviour towards LGBT individuals. Most students get bullied in their school life, but the already struggling LGBT people have to deal with preconceived notions that hinder their growth, personality and cause mental health issues as well.
Acknowledgment and Stigma
Implementing a basic understanding of a non-heteronormative system needs to be introduced in the early school years. Children grow up learning certain concepts and societal norms that directly reflect their behaviour towards other individuals in various social settings. Since the stigma created around the LGBT community is carried into adult life as well, it results in adverse conditions such as homophobia, bullying and all forms of harassment, including physical.
These prejudices are created through the curriculum but also by teachers, friends, family, and relatives. Many LGBT people are concerned about disapproval and resentment from their loved ones as that is what most queer individuals usually face in society. LGBT support in the education system can create an accepting environment for queer individuals, full of self-acceptance and free of stereotypes.
Heteronormativity and Inclusivity
As a society, we must treat the concept of gay meeting sites and gay dating as usual as heteronormative dating. This acceptance must be developed by educating students about diverse groups of individuals and that a nuclear family can also consist of two male parents etc. The wide acceptance of LGBT people will also need to be reflected by the teachers and families, not just the curriculum and programs. Until these concepts remain foreign for growing individuals, the well-being and growth of the LGBT community will remain hampered.
Inclusivity in the existing education system is the answer to creating a healthy environment for all those individuals who may feel like being a part of the LGBT community is considered “wrong” or “unacceptable”. Simple implementations in the schooling system can help discourage homophobic behaviour and combat the LGBT community from being treated like outcasts or abnormal. Simply put, everyone deserves equal rights to love and live. These necessary changes can help LGBT individuals live a better life where they can open up about their feelings and personal experiences in a supportive and non-judgemental social setting.
At the Rainbow Fellowship, we think that finding support, love and acceptance is necessary for every individual to grow to their full potential.