Recently, as part of our Sixth Form Lecture series, we invited someone to talk on the topics of Transgender Awareness, and LGBTQIA+. This was to show us how we can all do our own bit to ensure everyone feels comfortable in their everyday lives. Jude, our esteemed speaker, spoke on their experiences throughout childhood of feeling different to their family and friends, but not quite knowing who they identified as. They spoke of their journey as a transgender and non-binary individual, alongside some of the troubles they faced when trying to live up to societal expectations and undergoing “social conditioning”.

Jude introduced the different communities within the LGBTQIA+ flag, and educated the students on how these groups may identify or form relationships differently to the heterosexual relationships that we are all familiar with. Jude also adopted a historical approach to this concept, talking about how there have been strong members of the transgender and other communities hidden within our history for hundreds of years. These stories are only recently being discovered after the individuals had been punished severely for holding several gender identities, and for being different to others around them.

Another one of the main aspects of Jude’s presentation was how to be mindful of others and their feelings. In the school environment, it often becomes very easy to unknowingly assume someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. They highlighted how being more open-minded and showing more kindness or thoughtfulness could make a big impact on whether individuals feel safe and respected.

Based on feedback from the students within our Sixth Form at DCGS, the lecture was received positively, and many people felt this experience was necessary to formally educate everyone on the many communities present within the LGBTQIA+ population, and how we can be more mindful of our own actions toward others. This experience taught that keeping an open mind and respecting others’ opinions is vital to how we work together within both the LGBTQIA+ and Challoner’s Communities. As we move swiftly through the second month of 2022, it is crucial to reflect on our actions, remembering that everyone has different experiences and that we should be mindful of this in order to be as inclusive and kind to others as possible.