Queer is an umbrella term; queer is often used to describe a diverse spectrum of gender identities and for non-normative sexual identities. Many of us perceive the term ‘Queer’ differently, it just not means ‘same-sex attraction’ but incorporates an entire spectrum of gender orientations and attractions. The term Queer even represents all those people who are still trying to figure themselves out, or those who choose not to categorize themselves.
The LGBTQ+ world offers a wide divisions of gender identities and orientations, but we often overlook the rest of the community by focusing exclusive attention to cis gay men and cis lesbians. The LQBTQ+ has enough and equal space for transgenders, bisexuals, asexual people and many more. Therefore, Queer is the only world that only demands equal acceptance and representation, but also leaves the door open for words and signifiers that haven’t been invented yet. Moving ahead, it is necessary for us to have discussions about the LGBTQ+ community and raise awareness about their existence. Our society is extensively heteronormative, cis men and women with normative sexual orientation are offered immense privilege in our society. Our educational institutions need to ensure that they allow conversations about the Queer community, they must build a safe space for students belonging from the LGBTQ+ community. It is very essential to destigmatize non-normative orientations and attractions, and the first essential step could be taken at our institutions where the fundamental conditioning of children happens.
It necessary for educational institutions to ensure that queer youth do not face any uncomfortable situation, these institutions must see that they don’t encounter any sexist or homophobic atmosphere. It is time to make our educational system more accepting and inclusive.
Accepting that Queer students exist is the most fundamental step towards making a change and bringing inclusivity. The narratives of the LGBTQ+ youth is often hidden under that of a heterosexual individual. It is necessary to offer Queers the space where they can voice their experiences without fearing any judgment from their professors and peers. The recognition that they deserve must be offered by our educational institutions. A YouGov Survey found that 49% of youth do not identity as 100% heterosexual, yet their stories and experiences are never given the limelight and mainstream attention. Heterosexuality is immensely normalized, and orientation that diverts from the idea of heteronormative ideas are deeply condoned and ignored by our society. Therefore, our institutions must take into consideration the discrimination that has been going on since ages, and they must try to respect people for their differences.
A survey by UNESCO shows that 60% of queers and transgenders are bullied right from school. They are also discriminated by their teachers and professors at many levels; therefore, it is necessary to build a safe atmosphere at these educational institutions. Queers develop a lot of trauma because of their disturbing and upsetting experiences at school, and later in life they need to gather a lot of courage to own themselves and accept who they are. Almost all Queer youth were subjected to bullying and discriminations at schools and colleges, this affected their mental health directly and it disturbed their mental peace. These bad experiences can amount to several traumatic episodes and would create a very unhealthy environment for Queer youths. They cannot openly talk about their orientations about of persistent growth and encouragement of homophobia in educational institutions. Therefore, they must ensure that homophobic practices are deeply condoned, allow the students to openly share their experiences and encourage them to report their grievances against any particular teacher or a peer if they face any trouble.
Transgenders have been constantly bullied because of the gender they identify as. It is necessary for schools to install gender neutral bathrooms for transgenders and queers. This will definitely make a huge difference; besides that, transgenders shouldn’t be discriminated and treated poorly for their gender orientation.
It is very essential and necessary to normalize Queerness. Educational institutions must encourage Queer themed events and activities which offers a space for the Queers to have conversations with their peers and teachers about their individual experiences, it also encourages the students to take pride in being who they are. It is very important to allow the cis genders and heterosexuals to be familiar with what Queerness is. These initiatives will make the campus a safe and inclusive place, it will encourage everyone to have more acceptance and be non-judgmental.
LGBTQ+ people are likely to suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Therefore, educational institutions must ensure to allow them to have good counselling services, it is important to encourage them to talk about their problems. This ensure them that they are being offered a safe space and environment.