Seen and heard: what role can learning development play in LGBTQ+ inclusion?
Keywords:LGBTQ students, trauma-informed pedagogy, learning development, higher education, inclusive practice
An inclusive approach to teaching LGBTQ+ students in university is vital. LGBTQ+ people are more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Friedman et al., 2011; Miranda-Mendizábal et al., 2017; Craig et al., 2020). They suffer minority stress (Meyer, 2003) and are more likely to have experienced early trauma (Craig et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2021). Particular attention is needed for the most vulnerable LGBTQ+ students such as bisexual and transgender individuals (Gnan et al., 2019). Whilst literature exists on LGBTQ+ inclusive teaching (Moore, 2014; Mikulec, 2016), there is a considerable research gap specifically addressing the pedagogical potential of learning development as a vehicle for this.
Building on the foundation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and decolonisation, Trauma-Informed Pedagogy (TIP) acknowledges the barriers to learning faced by trauma-experienced students and promotes inclusive approaches (Baker, 2022). Using the TIP framework, the session invited delegates to consider how the trauma-informed educator can create and maintain a safe, inclusive and empowering learning space. We invited delegates to reflect on their own inclusive practices in relation to LGBTQ+ students and how to best support the needs of a group who can remain largely invisible. Using case studies, we explored how TIP approaches can be applied in a learning development context to benefit not only LGBTQ+ students, but the student body as a whole.
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