Skip to content



Supporting LGBTQ+ Students in the Classroom

Supporting LGBTQ Students in the Classroom

A Guide For Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants

Suggestions on how to create inclusive classrooms for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) students:

Before Entering The Classroom

  • Include a statement in your syllabus that includes resources that support queer and trans students on campus, such as the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD).
  • State the location of the All Gender Restroom nearest to the classroom and include a link to the UCSB All Gender Restroom Map on your syllabus.
  • Familiarize yourself with LGBTQ terminology and always mirror the language students use for themselves.
  • Integrate LGBTQ topics as they relate to your field into the curriculum, including readings, discussions, and assignments. Highlight important contributions made by LGBTQ scholars in your field.
    • Your class may not be explicitly covering LGBTQ topics, but you should make a conscious effort to be as LGBTQ-inclusive as possible so every student has the opportunity to be successful.
  • Pursue personal and professional development for yourself and colleagues in your department around LGBTQ identities and experiences.

      Cultivating an LGBTQ Inclusive Classroom

      Pronouns in the Classroom

      • Introduce pronouns on the first day during classroom introductions. You should explain what pronouns are, why they are important in your classroom, and how to use them.
        • Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. 
        • We encourage you to come up with your own rationale for why using the correct pronouns for students is important in your classroom, but some reasons you might cite are:
          • To respect how people want to be referred to in the third person;
          • Student learning will be negatively impacted if they are being continuously misgendered; 
          • We want all students to be able to fully and equally participate in the classroom environment without any barriers.
      • It is helpful for your students if you have a visual modeling of different pronouns on the board for them to reference as they introduce themselves.
        • Common pronouns in standard English: they.them.theirs, she.her.hers, he.him.his
          • > Education tab > Pronouns


      Pronouns on Zoom

      • Add your pronouns to your zoom display name and encourage students to do the same.
      • Instead of reading names from a roster, allow students to share their names on the first day of class.
        • This will avoid deadnaming students (using a student’s legal name that they do not currently use) and prevents you from mispronouncing names.
      • Avoid gendered language such as “ladies and gentleman” or "guys” and use gender-inclusive language instead, such as “folks,” “everyone,” "students", "scientists," and "scholars," to include gender non-conforming and nonbinary students.


      Name, address, and respond to anti-LGBTQ behavior or comments 

      • Address misgendering, deadnaming, and homophobic and transphobic comments as they occur to send a strong message of inclusion and support for LGBTQ students.
        • This is something you can do on day one with your classroom agreements/guidelines.
      • Federal law (i.e., Title IX), California law, UC's nondiscrimination policies, and the UCSB Student Conduct Code protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in the classroom. 
      • Students who are resistant should not be allowed to use the wrong pronouns for others in the classroom. You can seek support from your instructor of record or the RCSGD to address this if it comes up with your students. 
      • During office hours and one-on-one meetings, create opportunities for students to share their classroom experiences with you by asking for feedback and suggestions.


      How do you deal with a professor who is resistant to inclusive language?

      • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your professor and be prepared to do some education around supporting LGBTQ students in the classroom.
      • Find your allies in your department and on campus.


        How do you deal with a professor who is resistant to inclusive language?

        • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your professor and be prepared to do some education around supporting LGBTQ students in the classroom.
        • Find your allies in your department and on campus.

         Supporting LGBTQ Students Holistically

        • When a student comes out to you as part of the LGBTQ community, do not assume they need resources or help, but ask them how you can support them.
          • “Thank you for telling me. How can I support you?”
          • Do not share this information with others unless the student gives you permission to do so. You should not out them to your instructor of record or in the classroom if the student has not given you their approval.

         Important Resources to Know About For LGBTQ Students

        • The RCSGD provides one-on-one support and resources for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty.
        • The RCSGD has a Graduate Assistant who supports LGBTQ graduate students. To schedule an appointment click here.
        • Students have the option to add a Preferred Name in most university systems which include class rosters
        • Students have the option to add their pronouns on class rosters and in GauchoSpace through GOLD
        • UCSB has a variety of LGBTQ Student Organizations:
        • UCSB has a variety of resources for students facing food insecurity:

        **If you have any questions or need additional suggestions on how to support LGBTQ students in the classroom, please contact the RCSGD at or visit us on the third floor of the Student Resource Building.***