Trans rights: a new book to help elementary students explore topics


Primary school pupils will be helped to explore LGBT + issues such as the difference between assigned sex and gender, using inclusive pronouns and stereotypes through a book donated to Scottish schools.

Authors of What does LGBT + mean? said their text was intended to give a “positive introduction to identity, gender and sexual orientation”.

The guide, due to be launched next Saturday and not covering sex education, was written with children aged 9 to 11 in mind. However, co-author Olly Pike said it could be used whenever kids feel ready to engage with the content.

The book is divided into short, clearly written chapters covering many topics, including trans and non-binary identities, the meaning of intersex, the emergence of the Pride movement, and being an LGBT + ally. It is brilliantly illustrated and includes exercises designed to help students develop their understanding.

Mr Pike, who wrote the book with experienced elementary school teacher Mel Lane and his son James Canning, said private sponsors meant it would be possible to donate the text to every elementary school in Dumfries and Galloway. He is also confident that there will be a strong appetite from educators across Scotland.

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Citing figures from the Just Like Us – Growing Up LGBT report which show that 48% of students had little or no positive messages about being LGBT + at school, he told the Herald: “It is vital that we were teaching LGBT + identities in school because we know LGBT +. Linked bullying is the most common form of bullying in UK schools and LGBT + youth are much more likely to self-harm and attempt suicide. This is one of the inspirations of this book.

“This book deals with breaking down LGBT + topics such as identity, gender, sexual orientation, and information dissemination in a very basic and child-friendly way.”

Its publication comes after the SNP’s election manifesto in Holyrood committed the party to ensuring that LGBT history, role models and equality education are taught in schools. The charity Time For Inclusive Education was also funded to “work with policy makers, produce educational resources and provide services to teachers and students to raise awareness, deepen knowledge and foster good relationships”.

Mr Pike said he was confident students would be able to understand the terms, concepts and issues explored in the new text.

An image from the book, which is divided into short chapters and covers a variety of LGBT issues.

“We tested this book with over 100 children and took their thoughts and comments a lot, and incorporated them into the book to make sure it can be understood,” he added. “So we are very confident that this is something that children today will understand. And I think we need to give kids today more credit than we maybe do.

“I go to schools a lot and chat with the children, especially the second upper key stage [KS2 pupils are usually aged seven to 11] – they are very much in tune with what LGBT + means.

Mr. Pike also pointed out that the book was written in a way that helps teachers. He added that he and his co-authors “knew that teachers don’t necessarily always have the confidence to provide this information – so we needed to make this book very simple for them too, because this book isn’t just for them. to read by the teacher to the class, it is up to the teacher to read with the class and to learn at the same time as the children ”.

Mr Pike, also director of Pop ‘n’ Olly, which has already distributed thousands of inclusive fairy tale books to educators, parents and caregivers, said his work north of the border has generated a lot of publicity. interest.

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“I would say this book will be just as needed in Scottish schools as it is in any other part of the UK,” he said. “We have also sent books to other parts of Scotland. [as well as Dumfries and Galloway]. I have a few Scottish teachers who support my work. A principal at a school in Renfrewshire bought copies of my other books for all the schools in that local authority which is great.

HeraldScotland: Olly Pike, pictured, wrote the book with Mel Lane and James Canning.Olly Pike, pictured, wrote the book with Mel Lane and James Canning.

A spokesperson for EIS, Scotland’s largest teachers’ union, said: all equality issues, including LGBT + equality, and to support personal and social education.

“It is essential that these publications reflect the diverse population of learners and staff and that young people as learners can see themselves and their communities represented in the learning materials they use on a daily basis.

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