Celebrating Diversity: Supporting LGBTQ and Gender Fluid Students
Supporting LGBTQ and Gender Fluid Students
By Director Laura Rice
At Dearborn STEP assessment, we pride ourselves at being a truly welcoming program, both in word and action.
As a 40-day assessment program, STEP has a changing student population and we often get students who are gender fluid and exploring their sexual identity. Students and staff can feel comfortable here with whatever choices they make, and we embrace them.
Ensuring That STEP Remains Welcoming
A focus on diversity and inclusion, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is a cornerstone of ensuring that STEP remains welcoming. We use respectful language and adjust the milieu to reflect how others can be open and not critical. We have interns each year that bring with them new ideas and information on how our language can be supportive and updated.
We work to accommodate all students academically, socially and emotionally. We develop a tailored plan on how to support them as individuals as well as in a community. In addition to individual clinical sessions, our group sessions offer opportunities for open dialogue on differences and how to be accepting of others.
Part of Our Philosophy
This focus is one that all staff members share. It is a part of our philosophy. We hire staff members who are open to differences, and this is always top of mind in the way that we train staff. We are looking to provide more professional development opportunities about gender identity, racism, and other diversity and equity issues. As a program and organization, I would like us to further increase core trainings that are important to our beliefs and help expand our staff knowledge base.
Additionally, in our work with parents, we help them access resources and supports for their student. In collaboration with them, as well as with district staff and others involved in students’ well-being, we are invested in helping students be successful.
That means celebrating every aspect of who they are.