Rainbows and ribbons, PowerPoints and posters: ambassadors embrace special month with Pride

Rainbows and ribbons, PowerPoints and posters: ambassadors embrace special month with Pride

From how to support people who are coming out to understanding transgender transitioning, the School’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors covered key themes during activities marking Pride month.

The trio of ambassadors, all drawn from Year 12, used a spectrum of material to communicate with fellow pupils in an age-appropriate and accessible way.

Josh Osman, Vithusan Kuganathan and Leo Kucera promoted better understanding of LGBTQ during Personal Development Time sessions, using PowerPoint presentations and encouraging questions in Q&As. As well as updating the dedicated equality, diversity & inclusion noticeboard, they put up posters around the School, while a rainbow flag was hung in Café 1573. They also sold Pride ribbons at the Founder’s Day fête.

For Year 7 & 8 boys, in addition to a discussion session exploring how young LGBT people might feel, the ambassadors ran a poster competition. The entrants could choose as their theme any of the Equality Act-protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation). Josh said: “We were very pleased with both the level of participation and the quality of the submissions. There were many excellent entries.” The best entries are being displayed on the noticeboard.

For the older boys, there were lessons on challenging stereotypes and understanding the different ways gender is thought about around the world (Year 9), on promoting a better understanding of the transgender aspect of LGBTQ and, particularly, of transitioning (Year 10), and on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of what to say if someone were to come out to you (Year 12).

Since being appointed earlier this year, the three ambassadors have celebrated International Women’s Day at the School and launched the noticeboard. Their next big event is planned for Black History Month in October.

Speaking about their roles, and their work overall to date, Vithusan said: “We are looking to make these issues clearer to younger years – to teach these values.” Leo added: “This is part of the School’s ‘confident, able and responsible’ mission. It is about changes in society and reflecting that. Others in Year 12 have helped, which is great, as these things shouldn’t just be left to the School’s hierarchy. As students we are more relatable to the younger students – we’ve been in their shoes not long ago.”

All three boys stressed the importance and value of student leadership. Josh said: “It is such an important role. We are a very traditional School in many ways, but we’re here to prove the School is progressive. We are setting a foundation for the future of diversity at QE. We are still finding what we can do; our job is to create the mould for ambassadors to build upon in future years.”