20 June 2024

Supporting LGBTQIA+ students
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Supporting the inclusion and wellbeing of students who identify as sex, gender, or sexuality diverse (SGSD).

In this resource we have used terms including “LGBTQIA+”, “diverse sexualities and genders”, and “sex, gender, or sexuality diverse”.

We acknowledge that not everyone will identify with these terms. There are also many different cultural understandings and terms for sexuality and gender diversity such as “takatāpui”, “whakawāhine”, and “tangata iratāne” (Māori), “hijra” (Bengali), “fa’afafine” Samoan, and “fakaleiti” Tongan.

​Understand the key concerns of students

​Learn about the key concerns and experiences of LGBTQIA+ students.

Respect for diversity is a core value adopted by many schools in Aotearoa. Although this value routinely extends to include sex, ethnicity, religion, culture and disability,

diversity related to gender and sexuality often remains unaddressed. 


Summary of important concepts:

Strategies for action

Four key strategies to support sex, gender, and gender diversity inclusion.

Build knowledge of sex, gender, and sexuality diversity

Sexuality education in New Zealand schools supports and acknowledges diversity among students. 

Three suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Design inclusive school-wide systems and processes

Intentionally develop a culture where all students are included, visible, and valued.(Source: Safe Schools Coalition)

Video hosted on Youtube

Homophobic and transphobic violence in education is unacceptable. Schools have an obligation to plan and implement effective responses.

Six suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs

Creating an inclusive environment, free of discrimination, enables students to feel physically and emotionally safe. This approach supports the academic achievement and wellbeing of all students.

A 14 year old female lesbian attends a government school with an anti- homophobia policy in place. The school features posters, students who speak up against homophobia, friendliness towards diverse people, diverse sex education and equal treatment of same-sex partners at events.

She says … school is one of the few places in her world where she feels truly safe enough to do “just normal student things, like learn”.


Equal Opportunity Commission, Western Australia

Five suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Develop an inclusive classroom and curriculum

Create a classroom that acknowledges and affirms the gender and sexuality diversity of every student. 

10944 [Students-at-Schools-Out-Conference.jpg]

Provide your classes with positive examples of sexuality, gender, and physical diversity across the curriculum.

Six suggestions for implementing this strategy:

Key resources

RSE Guide Years 1 8

Relationships and Sexuality Education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

Read time: 105 min

This guide supports school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality relationships and sexuality education programmes. It supports the positive and holistic development and health of all students in all New Zealand schools.

Front cover of making schools safer

Making schools safer: A practical guide for schools on supporting transgender, gender diverse, and intersex students in Aotearoa

Read time: 110 min

A resource for schools seeking to support transgender, gender diverse, and intersex students and their whānau.

Publisher: InsideOUT

policies procedures

Creating rainbow-inclusive school policies and procedures

Read time: 90 min

A resource for school boards, school leaders, and staff members to identify both strengths in existing policy frameworks, and areas where processes and guidelines can be updated or added.

Publisher: InsideOUT

diversity groups

Starting and Strengthening Rainbow Diversity Groups

Read time: 65 min

A resource aimed at students who have or would like to start a rainbow diversity group or queer straight alliance in their school.
The resource contains information such as how to start a group, what to do in your group, facilitation tips, information for staff, examples of other groups and lots more.

Publisher: InsideOUT

Ending rainbow bullying

Ending rainbow-focused bullying and discrimination

An interactive workbook for teachers and school leaders to create environments free from rainbow-focused bullying and discrimination. Incorporates evidence-informed guidance from the BullyingFree NZ website.

Publisher: InsideOUT


Takatāpui: A resource hub

Online resource hub for takatāpui and their whānau.

Publisher: RainbowYOUTH


Silent talanoa

A four-part video series that offers a glimpse into the lives of Rainbow Pasifika youth – “lifting the veil of silence so that young people could talanoa (talk/share) about the realness in society and how they overcame adversity”.

Publisher: Village Collective


Inside Out

This learning resource aims to increase understanding and support of gender and sexuality diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. It includes a set of video-based teaching resources.

Publisher: RainbowYOUTH

More options

Browse all guides

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTQIA+ students