The Theatrefolk 2021–2022 Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Panel shares its thoughts on LGBTQ+ inclusive questions for your beginning of the year survey.
What strategies do you use to get to know your students at the beginning of the year or semester? Certainly you’ll learn about them from what they share in your class, how they approach assignments, and how they work with others. But there are some specific details that won’t come to light in the day-to-day routines of your class. A student survey can help you learn those details.
Potential questions can range from personal reflections to learning preferences. The answers will give you insight into your students’ goals for your class, what they want, and how they express their individuality. For example:
- What three words describe you best?
- What’s your favourite movie or book or song?
- What are you most proud of?
- What is your favorite way to learn?
But there are other key questions to consider, particularly for your students in the LGBTQ+ (LGBTQIA, LGBTQ2S) community. The answers to these questions are key to student safety and inclusivity. Student safety is extremely important. Inadvertently outing students to their peers, families, and/or other teachers may lead to bullying, abuse, etc.
Consider the following inclusive questions for your LGBTQ+ students:
- What is your name on the official school roster?
- What is the name you would like me to call you in class?
- May I use this name with parents and other teachers?
- What kind of experiences and stories do you enjoy seeing on stage?
- What kind of experiences and stories do you wish you could see more of on stage?
- What pronouns do you use?
- Note: Give examples with this question (he/she/they/ze/etc.). Sometimes a student might be wondering what they are. Give them a choice! Be sure to add etc. at the end of the list — there are always more pronouns out there.
- What pronouns should I use for you?
- Is there anything you would like to discuss with me regarding pronouns/names?
- Can I share this with substitute teachers?
- Who are the adults in your home?
- Is there anything I need to know about you to make your experience more comfortable or safe this year?
- Are there any daily traditions, routines, or habits that I should be aware of?
- Virtual students
- Do you work with or without headphones?
- Are you in a space by yourself or do you work with others around?
Note: This is not a document that you pull out when you assume you have an LGBTQ+ student. Don’t assume. Give students the opportunity to share that information with you. These questions should be normalized as part of your classroom procedures for getting to know your students.
Disclaimer: Check with your administration and district policy about anything discussed in this article with regard to LGBTQ+ (LGBTQIA, LGBTQ2S), as laws vary from region to region.
L = Lesbian. Women sexually/romantically attracted to women.
G = Gay. Men sexually/romantically attracted to men.
B = Bisexual. People sexually/romantically attracted to their own and other genders.
T = Transgender. People whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Q = Queer/Questioning. An umbrella term with a variety of meanings. Used by some individuals who don’t identify as straight or cisgender and do not conform to traditional societal norms with regard to gender and sexuality, or who are questioning their sexuality or their identity.
I = Intersex. An umbrella term. A person born with sex characteristics that do not fit binary definitions of male and female.
A = Asexual. People who feel little to no sexual attraction to others.
2S = Two-Spirit. An umbrella term used by some Indigenous people who identify as having both a male and female spirit.
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