Educational institutions should appoint counsellors for dealing with the issues of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgenders) individuals, there by creating safe space for the young people to share their concerns, a panel discussion organised by the US Consulate said.
“Many of the children who go through gender identity and sexual orientation confusion attempt suicides. So it is very important that schools and colleges should come forward to appoint counsellors, which will the first step in engaging these young people,” Magdalene Jeyarathanam, director, Centre of Counselling, said at the discussion on ‘LGBT Youth and an Inclusive Education System’ conducted on Friday as a part of the LGBT Pride Month engagement.
“Even many of counsellors do not know how to handle children and young people when they share their issues on gender identity and sexual orientation. These counsellors have to be trained properly,” she said.
Anirudhan Vasudevan, LGBT rights activist said, “In the growing up years, these young people have no support system. Generally they do not know who to turn for help, who to talk to. We need more counsellors in schools and colleges. There need to be a serious debate on this issue of appointing counsellors in educational institutions.” The importance of imparting sex education in schools and the need for creating an environment for research on gender and sexuality at higher educational institutions also came up for discussion.
Sunil Menon, an LGBT activist advised students to be sensitive to friends and family members who identify themselves as a person with alternative sexuality.
US Consul General Jennifer Mcintyre said, “this is a very important debate on inclusive education for LGBT youth and ways to make of their school environment more accommodating.”