Assembly Speaker, 6 February
Sam: Just Like Us
For Monday's assembly we were kindly joined by the LGBTQ+ charity, Just Like Us led by speaker Sam to shine light on LGBTQ+ experiences and to educate us on how to make conscious decisions to be more inclusive and generally more informed.
We were introduced to Sam’s personal story, learning how he struggled with his identity at home due to cultural influences, but,through the help of other people, such as his friends who supported and uplifted him, he grew in his confidence and embraced his identity fully. We also came to find out that he has won four Grammys for his work on various famous albums such as SOS by Sza, which was an exciting achievement.
He helped clarify the different definitions of LGBTQ+ terminology and what the term LGBTQ+ means in itself, being a reference to anyone who does not identify as straight. We ran through more gender terms such as, non-binary, agender and genderfluid, yet he also emphasised the fact that people are allowed to not use labels at all and that is okay too.
He sensitively talked us through when and how to use pronouns properly, the varying types of pronouns people use and why using pronouns is important. The use of pronouns are important as they are a way for allies or those part of the community to normalise these terms in everyday life. We were advised to start using our pronouns in emails, social media bios and during introductions, Sam also stressed the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in everyday life listing some examples of famous LGBTQ+ people such as Frank Ocean.
There was an interactive section of the talk where we ran through how to respond to various scenarios, giving our feedback and discussing the appropriate ways to combat homophobic behaviour, with an emphasis on always being respectful and kind to one another. Then we played true or false learning some shocking statistics such as; 86% of LGBTQ+ students hear homophobic remarks which really put into perspective the learning and growth still to be done. This was followed by how to be a better ally such as intervening and reporting anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour, celebrating Pride and running pro-LGBTQ+ policies. However, the importance of communication and talking to one another was the key thing to remember.
Overall, this talk was very enlightening for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in taking steps to prevent prejudice and increase pride in our school and wider community.