Universities have a key role to play in promoting the cultural diversity among their staff and students. The following information aims to provide both staff and students with suggestions on how to create a study and work environment that supports and affirms the sexual diversity of the Flinders community.
- Sexuality is one of many facets that make up a persons identity.
- Assume that approximately 10% of the people you work and study with identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and queer and others will have family and friends who identify as such.
- When a sexually diverse person expresses an interest in developing a friendship with you do not assume they are making an advance towards you.
- Be aware of the verbal and non-verbal messages you give out about your acceptance and affirmation of diverse sexual and gender identities.
- Reflect on any stereotypical attitudes you may hold in relation to diverse sexualities and do not allow them to cloud your professional judgement or workplace decisions.
- Recognise the diversity of family structures and relationships that exist in society. Not all families comprise of a heterosexual couple and children. Likewise, not all relationships are exclusively heterosexual.
- Sexual orientation is distinct from gender identity.
- Behaviour that offends, humiliates and creates a hostile environment may constitute harassment and is grounds for disciplinary action.
- When you observe homophobic behaviour or hear homophobic jokes or remarks, challenge them.
- All staff and students have a responsibility for creating a study and work environment that is free from harassment and discrimination.
See also words and language.
- Familiarise yourself about issues that impact on sexually diverse students.
- Reflect on your own verbal and non-verbal signals you communicate about your level of acceptance and affirmation of sexually diverse people. The
Teacher's self evaluation of non-biased behaviour checklist (PDF 98KB) is one way of identifying hidden biases teaching staff may hold in relation to people who identify as sexually diverse people and their issues.
- Anticipate and plan for controversy. General information on how to manage controversial issues in a teaching context and other information around creating inclusive classrooms can be found in the CDIP toolkit and can readily be applied to topics that involve discussion about sexual diversity.
- Do not expect students who identify as sexually diverse to speak as representatives of the sexually diverse community.
Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria have designed the Sexual Diversity Health Services Audit to enable health services to assess sexually diverse people’s access and quality of care. The audit can also be modified to suit the various administrative departments and services at Flinders University. Supervisors are encouraged to use this informal tool to assess the level of acceptance and affirmation of diverse sexualities and gender identities that exist within their department/units.
- Flinders University (2004) Cultural Diversity and Inclusive Practice Toolkit
- Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria
- SHine SA
- UWA Equity and Diversity Office (2005) Sexual Diversity at University of Western Australia