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Each year in June, LGBTQ+ communities around the world come together to mark the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and celebrate diversity and difference. Pride Month is a time to honour, recognise, and listen to the voices of our colleagues, friends and family who identify as LGBTQ+. And at NCFE, that extends to a celebration of the diversity of our customers, learners and partners too.
NCFE was born in 1848 from the belief that no learner should be left behind – a mission rooted in inclusivity that still guides our purpose to this day.
Identifying actions and speaking up is an important place to start, and we’re always listening and learning about how we can achieve (and surpass) true equality and diversity throughout our organisation. And, whilst Pride Month is an important moment of visibility for LGBTQ+ people (especially this year as we mark 50 years since the first celebration), it’s important to think about what we’re doing the other 11 months of the year to really embed this.
What are we doing?
NCFE’s core purpose is to promote and advance learning to help create a fairer society. This can only be achieved with equity, diversity and inclusion embedded across all areas of our work. We have undertaken a lot of work through our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee. We held a number of workshops, supported by external experts, with some clear outcomes and actions to help us to do better.
One example is that we've published internal guidance for staff on the topic of creating inclusive content at NCFE, ensuring that different lenses are thoroughly considered at every step of the content creation process. In a recent staff survey, our colleagues also scored NCFE highly for respecting and valuing different cultures and backgrounds in the organisation.
Only when people can bring their whole selves to work and study can they reach their full potential. Driving greater equity, diversity and inclusion is critical to making this a reality and allowing everyone to flourish. But there's always more to be done.
In the words of the Chair of our EDI committee, John Beattie: “NCFE doesn’t always get it right – but we’re moving in a positive direction where people can feel safe to have open, transparent, and sometimes challenging conversations that are free from bias.”
This informative article by Campaign for Learning celebrates Pride by sharing helpful tips for those working with LGBTQ+ families. You can read these top tips below – plus, be sure to check out the article for further information on meaningful activities and ideas that you can provide for LGBTQ+ families as a family practitioner.
Pride Month: Key facts and resources
Tips for working with LGBTQ+ families
1. Staff briefing and training. One of the most important parts of creating a safe, inclusive and comfortable space for everyone is to ensure your colleagues, staff and volunteers are all briefed and trained. Gendered Intelligence offer Trans Awareness training for all public facing organisations. Stonewall offer training opportunities for school staff and anyone working with children and young people. Curious Arts’ LGBTQIA+ Awareness Training sessions are a great place to start for team members working within arts/culture organisations or freelance roles. If budgets are tight, check out the London Museum’s free inclusion training on YouTube.
2. Prepare your setting. To make your activities truly inclusive for everyone it’s important to pay attention to the spaces you invite families to use. Part of this can be thinking about decorating with flags or Pride colours. But, the most important aspect is ensuring you have fully inclusive and accessible facilities of everyone. Margaret Middleton’s Gender Inclusive Signage article is full of advice and ideas for thinking about things like toilet facilities and venue-wide signage.
3. Use inclusive language. Always be mindful and ensure that you’re using inclusive language which is non-gendered. Brief your colleagues, staff and volunteers to do the same. Examples and ideas could include:
- “Hello folks/everyone!” instead of boys, girls, guys, etc.
- “Grown-ups” or “family” instead of mum, dad, grandma, etc.
- “Partner" instead of husband, wife, etc.
- “Siblings” instead of brother or sister
- Offering your pronouns when you introduce yourself
- Using non-gender specific pronouns for others, such as asking “What’s their name?”
- Mirroring (using the terms families use for themselves).
These resources provide support and information, not only during Pride Month, but year-round:
- Northern Pride
- Arcus – counselling and social support service
- PrideEvents – provide information on LGBTQ+ events across the UK
- Rainbow Home – supports LGBT+ people in the North East who are seeking asylum
- Just Like Us – working with schools across the UK to improve the lives of LGBT+ young people
- Mermaids – supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse young people, and their families
- Switchboard LBGTQ+ Helpline: offering a confidential way for an individual to talk things through
- Stonewall’s Parental Rights support – providing information on parental responsibility, adopting, fostering, co-parenting, fertility treatment and surrogacy.