As LGBTQ+ TEFL teachers, planning your next TEFL or travel adventure includes an extra level of preparation. You don’t only have to think about your visa or your travel insurance or how you’re going to fit everything into your suitcase. Whether it’s finding out which destinations you’ll feel comfortable in, which schools won’t think twice about your sexual identity or orientation, or where the best LGBTQ-friendly bars and restaurants are, there is a lot to think about when it comes to choosing your next TEFL destination. And these are important decisions because they might affect your experience in a particular place or sadly, even your safety.
To help make the process easier, and in honour of Pride Month, we’ve put together a list of our top resources for LGBTQ+ teachers who teach English as a Foreign Language abroad.
It’s very important to keep abreast of the goings-on in the world when it comes to laws and legal matters. Equaldex is a website with a difference. It is an interactive map of the world. It provides an up-to-date view of the current status of different LGBTQ+ laws around the world, from laws regarding homosexuality and marriage and adoption to employment and housing discrimination. You can also click on each country to find out about their laws in more detail. This is a must-visit website before you book your ticket.
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is one of the original online resources for LGBTQ+ travellers. It has information on LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses all over the world. Visit this website to find out which companies and services you should be using in your particular destination.
The Matador Network
The Matador Network is a travel website. It has articles on tons of different topics and many of those relate to LBGTQ+ travellers. From the latest on LBGTQ+ laws to the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations, it is a great resource to keep up-to-date with LGBTQ+ issues around the world.
Another online magazine, Out Traveler includes news from all over the world and reviews of top destinations, hotels and travel ideas for the discerning LGBTQ+ traveller. This is a great website to check out before you decide where you want to live, but also once you are there and are looking for ideas on how to make the most of your free time.
Similar but different, Travel Gay is touted as “the world’s best gay travel guide”. It offers reviews on hotels, bars, clubs and shops in cities all over the world. Plus, you can find recommendations for tours. They also have a podcast with interviews from famous members of the LGBTQ+ community.
A note of caution: unfortunately, even if a country has passed laws regarding equality, this does not mean that everyone in that country will subscribe to those beliefs. Even in very open and liberal communities, there might be people who are not welcoming or accepting of LGBTQ+ teachers. Choose wisely and surround yourself with allies to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Then, on a TEFL note, there are a number of resources we can use to bring the issues of gender identity and sexuality into the EFL classroom. ELT materials are, for the most part, behind the times on a number of issues (consider PARSNIPs), and we need to do more to make sure our classrooms become more inclusive. This can start with LGBTQ+ issues.
LGBTQ+ EFL lessons
The one way we can include LGBTQ+ issues in our EFL classrooms is to dedicate lessons to the cause. In other words, plan and carry out lessons that identify and discuss issues related to LGBT. We all know the usual online sites that we run to whenever we need materials and resources for our lessons. Well, when it comes to LGBTQ+ TEFL lessons, we can do more of the same – Onestopenglish, Breaking News English, The Internet TESL Journal and ESL Discussions all have LGBTQ-related lesson materials that can be used to promote discussion and, hopefully, acceptance and understanding in your classrooms.
Unfortunately, these lessons are few and far between, but hopefully soon we will have more to choose from.
In your classroom, also be mindful that you may have students who themselves are part of the LGBTQ+ community. They might be more than happy to talk about their lived experiences and share their stories, or they might not feel comfortable talking about it. However you deal with the topic, make sure you do it sensitively and with care.
Normalizing LGBTQ+ in TEFL
The other way we can contribute is to ensure we have appropriate representation of LGBTQ+ in our ELT materials.
Read more: Representation in ELT and EFL Classrooms
We have found these websites to be super helpful in this regard:
Stonewall provides a wealth of resources both for the teacher and the classroom. There are informative articles to read, teaching tips and lesson resources which will help you make your classroom more inclusive.
School’s Out is another useful resource, with articles and lesson materials.
While we might not be able to dictate what is and isn’t in our coursebooks when sourcing your own materials for your lessons, be sure to include images and references to people from all walks of life and different points of view.
These are our top resources for LGBTQ+ TEFL teachers, as well as teachers who would like to incorporate more LGBTQ+ materials into their EFL lessons. If you have any more you think we should know about, please drop us a comment!