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Kolkata school starts LGBTQIA club

The club, named Gender and Equality, has members from classes IX to XII of South City International School

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 12.07.22, 07:16 AM
Many families are not accepting and even mates in schools and colleges are at times accused of bullying or mocking their peers.

Many families are not accepting and even mates in schools and colleges are at times accused of bullying or mocking their peers.

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A city school has started an LGBTQIA club to encourage young students to be more accepting of differences and let those with different gender identities feel more secure instead of living in fear of being ridiculed.

Perhaps, the first institution in the city to take such a step, South City International School started the club at the beginning of the academic session in April.

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The club, named Gender and Equality, has members from classes IX to XII and aims to spread “social awareness” both on campus and outside at a time when many people are still judgmental about gender identities.

Many families are not accepting and even mates in schools and colleges are at times accused of bullying or mocking their peers.

The idea of a club came from the students.

The club does not push or expect any student to “come out” but the presence of such a club in the school gives them more “self-esteem”, a teacher said.

“We want students to understand that there is empathy, sensitivity and support around them. They will find support rather than being made to feel like a victim. At least in school, they should feel like they have a circle of support,” said principal John Bagul.

“Students need to be sensitised, too, and made aware that we need to accept people with differences,” Bagul said.

The move comes at a time when many institutions are still struggling or barely managing to talk about such issues.

“We intend to create more awareness, especially among those who mock people from the LGBTQIA comm-unity. There are individuals who pass insensitive remarks or stay away from them,” said Suchismita Majumdar, a Class XII student who is the president of the club.

“A different gender identity does not mean they are different but are one among many,” said a member.

Diversity has to be embraced, said a social worker.

“It is not only about gen-der identity or sexuality but teaching the kid about diversity and an important value like inclusion. Children have to understand that the world is diverse and there should be acceptance and recognition for everyone. We need to create space for all,” said social worker Ratnaboli Ray.

But Ray also warned that the efforts should not stop at raising awareness.

“It should not end with awareness but be a process where children can come and clarify questions. It should be able to provide that safety to children without being judged,” she said.

Ray said that the information should be age-appropriate and delivered in a fun, comprehensible and destigmatised manner.

“The school’s effort could also help teach children the importance of compassion, kindness and accommodation,” she said.

Last updated on 12.07.22, 07:16 AM
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