This post is part of a series – Supporting Students: A Guide for Faculty & Allies

Become an Advocate and Resource

  • Become a knowledgeable resource for students by learning your institution’s policies. Know how to report and connect students to appropriate resources in instances of discrimination within the department, university, or clinical education sites.
  • Be knowledgeable of supportive resources such as LGBTQ+ community-building or support groups, academic support services, and mental health services.
  • Stay informed and participate in on-campus events or advocacy in support of LGBTQ+ students.
  • If you share continuing education opportunities with students, include events and resources on LGBTQ+ inclusion, anti-racism efforts in CSD clinical practice, linguistic diversity, or ableism within the CSD field.

Inclusive Learning Environments

  • LGBTQ+ students report feeling supported by faculty who confront homophobic language, challenge heteronormative discourse within course content, and use inclusive language in the classroom (Linley et al., 2016).
  • Reflect on how you can foster a safe and inclusive learning environment for students of all identity groups (including students with disabilities, students from minoritized racial or ethnic groups, first-generation college students, and more).
    • Learn about educational frameworks that remove barriers, such as Universal Design for Learning.
    • Understand students’ holistic needs.
  • Invite students to share their name and pronouns (if they wish) on the first day instead of calling university-documented names, or invite students to include pronouns on a name tag.
  • Do not ask students of minoritized identities to speak for their entire identity or group in class discussions.
  • Communicate that you are open to constructive feedback from students on how to foster a more inclusive environment.

Curricular Content

  • Teach students about discrimination and healthcare and educational disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals.
    • Encourage students to reflect on how their own intersecting identities and biases may impact clinical service delivery. 
    • Engage students in discussion on how they can confront inequities individually and advocate for equitable change within organizations.
  • Teach students the importance of using a client’s correct pronouns.
  • Teach students about inclusive language in intake forms and clinical interviews
    • Intake forms: Ask for pronouns, name (separate from legal name required for billing and insurance purposes), “parent or caregiver” information instead of “mother” and “father.” 
    • Clinical interviews: Ask about clinically relevant surgical history (head and neck, heart, intubation, etc.) rather than open-ended questions that may be gender-triggering. Rather than asking about marriage, ask about someone’s living situation and/or support network (Goldberg, 2022).
  • Discuss anatomy and physiology in a way that challenges the binary model of sex, as biological research supports the understanding of human sex characteristics on a continuum (Štrkalj & Pather, 2021).
    • Use accurate and precise vocabulary instead of gendered language when discussing differences in anatomy. For example: “people with larger larynxes and higher levels of testosterone” instead of “men.”
    • Discuss with students how this inclusive language may differ from language that they may encounter in textbooks and research and how to apply inclusive language in their future clinical practice (Smith & White, 2022).
  • Include case studies with a variety of family structures and gender identities. Consider whether a client’s gender or sex-assigned-at-birth is relevant to the case study.
  • In your clinical education program, introduce department supports for instances of discrimination in the clinic.
  • Include LGBTQ+ individuals and perspectives in your education, such as through guest speakers or videos. 
  • Integrate education about service delivery to LGBTQ+ clients across courses, using experiential learning modalities like group discussion and case-based learning.


Linley, J. L., Nguyen, D., Brazelton, G. B., Becker, B., Renn, K., & Woodford, M. (2016). Faculty as sources of support for LGBTQ college students. College Teaching, 64(2), 55-63.

Goldberg, A. C. (2022). Is Your Practice Welcoming and Inclusive of All Genders?. Leader Live.

Smith, J., & White, E. (2022, November 17-19). Gender Inclusive Language in Undergraduate Courses on Anatomy & Physiology of Speech, Language, and Hearing. [Poster presentation]. 2022 ASHA Convention, New Orleans, LA.

Štrkalj, G., & Pather, N. (2021). Beyond the sex binary: Toward the inclusive anatomical sciences education. Anatomical sciences education, 14(4), 513-518.

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