Working out who you are and where you belong is challenging for many young people. Even more so when your community acts like you’re invisible and your gender identity doesn’t connect to your cultural identity.
Lex Davis, Māori and takatāpui educator, and LGBTQIA+ advocate, explains why feeling invisible in your own school makes belonging impossible, why silence is inherently unhelpful, and why learning to use an ‘equity pause’ can be a game changer.
If you want to build inclusion and equity for LGBTQIA+ youth, Lex Davis can help you. He shares valuable experience and advice on how to recognise you’ve got privilege and hold space, and what you can do to share space with those currently feeling marginalised. He explains how important it is to recognise and challenge your own assumptions, find the common ground, and create a space to listen.
Lex explains how an equity pause can be a gift that we give each other. He say, “If you’re racing ahead and talking about people, and you’re going to make changes… Stop. Have an equity pause. Ask, who haven’t we listened to? Who isn’t at this table? Who are we impacting on? Have we really considered that and have we talked to them?” This pause allows us all the opportunity to reconsider, grow, and change.
Perhaps most importantly, Lex reminds us to trust that LGBTQIA+ youth know what they need and what they want. As an educator, you don’t need to, and really shouldn’t, create or impose a solution. Rather, you should listen closely to hear the support our young people need and the changes that will be most important, most helpful, and most meaningful for them.
Lex Davis is Ngāpuhi, takatāpui, and an experienced educator. Currently Deputy Principal at Ormiston College, Auckland, in his previous role as Lead Professional Learning Facilitator at CORE Education, Tātai aho rau Lex led equity and wellbeing work to enable and amplify Māori and LGBTQIA+ voices.
Resources and links
Kō Tātou Tēnei – This Is Us: An action research project highlighting the experiences and aspirations of ākonga Māori who identify as rangatahi takatāpui – members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Download your copy.
Takatāpui resource site:
To learn how you can build educator wellbeing and resilience: Join Teacher Boost NZIWR’s free online community.
Our self-paced online courses available online here: https://nziwr.co.nz/education/
– Bite-Size Learning for staff rooms,
– Making the Case for Wellbeing to get people on board, and
– Navigating Wellbeing Change for wellbeing leaders in your school.