At Archbishop Holgate’s School, we our school values are compassion, trust, justice and forgiveness. These are really important as they emphasise the importance of respecting other people and ensuring people can be their true selves.
We believe love is love. Everyone deserves compassion, support and justice.
Secondary school can be a complex time as you start to understand who you are, your feelings and your own personal identity. It is often during secondary school that students start to explore their sexual identity and orientation. This is completely normal and healthy.
At AHS, we want to support you in anyway we can. You may need some advice or support or would like to link up with people who are going through, or have gone through, similar experiences. We also want to help each member of the AHS community to be able to be celebrate their own identity without fearing prejudice or discrimination from other people.
The LGBT group meets every Tuesday lunchtime and students (and sometimes staff) come together and celebrate all things LGBT. Anyone is welcome, regardless of their sexuality or identity. Please do come along!
We are a Stonewall Champion School and continue to strive for excellence, working closely with Stonewall and other organisations to challenge any form of discrimination. More information can be found here:
Below is some key information about what it means to be LGBT, where you can find support and what you should do if you feel you have been discriminated against.
What does it mean to be LGBT?
LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. More information can be found below:
A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay or as gay women.
The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex. Sometimes lesbian is the preferred term for women.
A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Bisexual people need not have had specific sexual experiences to be bisexual; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all to identify as bisexual.
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms— including transgender. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.
An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual. Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don’t apply to them. Some people may use queer, or more commonly genderqueer, to describe their gender identity and/or gender expression. Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBT people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term even within the LGBT community.
Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. This term describes someone who is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.
What does it mean to “come out” and how can we support each other?
“Coming out” is the term used to describe telling someone about your sexual orientation. It is entirely up to you, as an individual, if you decide to tell other people about your sexual orientation. Some people feel the need to tell people, in their own way, what their orientation is. Others don’t feel the need. It is entirely up you. For some people, this can be a difficult process and can take a long time to feel that it is right time for them to do so. The important thing is that you never question or put pressure on other people to “come out” and tell people what their sexual orientation is.
If someone “comes out” to you, remember to listen carefully to them. Don’t pass judgement and celebrate what they have told you. Be lead by them. They may wish to talk to you more about this. If they do, listen carefully to what they tell you. They may want to tell you and move on to a different topic. Again, be led by them and don’t push them for more information if they don’t want to give it. Finally, they may “come out” to you in private. Respect this and don’t tell other people. This isn’t your news!
More information for people who are gay, lesbian, bi or trans can be found on the Stonewall website here: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/coming-out/coming-out-young-person
What does it mean to be trans?
This video provides a really helpful summary of what it means to be a trans person. Watch it carefully to understand what it means if someone is transitioning and what language is appropriate. If you are transitioning ,the school can support you throughout the process. If you need support, please talk to your Head of Year.
You can find more support and information regarding what it means to be trans-gender here: https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/young-people/
Here you can find lots of information if you are transgender, need support with your identity or experience discrimination due to your gender or identity.
Homophobia, transphobia or biphobia
What is homophobia?
Homophobic language includes language, jokes or ‘banter’ that is negative or disrespectful of, or that perpetuates stereotypes about, lesbian or gay people.
Phrases like ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’. The most common form of homophobic language is ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘you’re so gay’. 99 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people report hearing the casual use of these phrases in school. These comments are sometimes directed towards people who are actually, or perceived to be, lesbian or gay.
However, they are most often used to mean that something is bad or ‘rubbish’, with no conscious link to sexual orientation at all, for example ‘those trainers are so gay’ (to mean uncool) or ‘stop being so gay’ (to mean stop being so annoying).
What makes something “biphobic”?
Biphobic language includes language, jokes or ‘banter’ that is negative or disrespectful of, or that perpetuates stereotypes about, bisexual people (people who are attracted to people of the same gender and to people of adifferent gender to their own)
Making fun of bisexual people for being ‘greedy’ or because they are attracted to people of the same gender and to people of a different gender
Accusing someone of going through a ‘phase’, questioning why they ‘can’t make their mind up’ or saying ‘surely you’re just straight or gay’
Saying ‘why can’t you just be normal’, either because being bisexual is not perceived to be ‘normal’ or because it’s not ‘normal’ to have same-sex relationships (link to homophobic language)
What makes something “transphobic”?
Transphobic language includes language, jokes or ‘banter’ that is negative or disrespectful of, or that perpetuates stereotypes about, trans people (people whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth)
This could include:
TRANSPHOBIC LANGUAGE EXAMPLES:
Terms of abuse, including ‘tranny’, ‘he-she’, referring to a trans person as ‘it’ or deliberately misnaming or misgendering them (using the wrong pronoun when referring to them in conversation)
Taunting or inappropriate questions or comments about a trans person’s gender or gender identity, for example ‘are you a girl, or a boy?’ or ‘you’re not a ‘real’ girl’
Questions or comments about a trans person’s body, for example asking them what their body looks like
These examples were all taken from the Stonewall guidance. More information can be found here:
What should I do if I hear or experience homophobia, transphobia or biphobia?
Any form of discriminatory language, whether it is homophobic, transphobic or biphobic is unacceptable and needs to be challenged. It is never ok to discriminate against somebody because of their sexuality or gender. Nor is it ok to bully or tease someone because of their sexuality or gender.
If you hear people using phases or language which are homophobic, transphobic, or biphobic, please do the following things:
- If you feel comfortable doing so, challenge the person using the language and tell them it is not appropriate.
- Support someone who has experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic and stand up for them.
- Report the language to a member of staff. You should do this every time is happens. The more we challenge it, the more likely it is going to stop.
I want to get involved with supporting and celebrating LGBT in York, what can I do?
The YORK LGBT forum is a great place to start: https://www.yorklgbtforum.org.uk/
They offer lots of different support groups and have a dedictated LGBT Youth group where you can find more information and meet lots of other young people. Information can be found here: https://www.yorklgbtforum.org.uk/schools/
AHS also gets involved in York Pride every year. Unfortunately it has been cancelled for 2020 but we will definitely be taking part next year. More information can be found here: https://yorkpride.org.uk/