FIRST recently released a blog post about some work they’re doing program-wide to promote, celebrate, and support LGBTQ youth. However, for better or for worse, FIRST doesn’t do a whole lot of sticking its hands into team operations where this kind of thing can be most effective. So what do you, as individuals or teams, as mentors or student leaders, do to actively promote inclusion as a core value of your team?
Here are some gimmes (aka every team should be doing this):
- When you hear a queerphobic “joke,” comment (eg “that looks gay”), or slur, shut it down instantly and directly.
- Address everyone by their desired name and pronouns.
- Be respectful to everyone no matter what.
Do you do pride-themed events or swag? Do you partner with LGBTQ-specific organizations for outreach events? Do you run or require ED&I training?
And before we get started, please don’t come in here with “we don’t do any of this and don’t think we should.” You should. Full stop. When you’re a queer high schooler it can feel like the entire world is against you except for some small pockets. Be one of those pockets.