LGBT college students report much higher instances of bullying and violence on campuses than their non-LGBT peers. The Center for American Progress calls it "a hidden crisis," as these students feel like they can't be who they are, and if they're outed (by an unknowing teacher, for example, who may call out a student's given name while taking attendance though the student may identify as transgender and with a different name), they're learning and their lives are put in danger.
The Chronicle of Higher Education created a video called "Ask Me" and got 13 LGBT college students to address the issues they'll face head on as well as the professor they'll have in the future. They posed five questions that teachers should ask their students (out as LGBT or not) that will make them feel understood, safe and better able to learn.
As seen in the video, it'll make a huge difference.
Here are a few with their responses:
Ask them how they identify.
Why it matters: If the teachers/professors call the name or pronoun given at birth, the student has a chance of getting outed, or having other people know about their identify before they're ready to tell them — sometimes out of fear of acceptance.
"When professors don't notice that I have a preferred name listed in the university registrar, it can be very anxiety-inducing. Like, oh what's going to happen on that first day I'm outed, what are students going to say, what are teachers going to say," one student explains.
Ask them about respect.
Ask them if they feel safe.
Why respect and safety matters: According to a study out of York College, 28 percent of LGBT students drop out of high school due to feeling unwelcome (though verbal and physical abuse of others) in their surroundings.
But simply asking them these questions can make them feel a little better so they can do what they came to college to do: learn.