Views and Experiences of Teachers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pupils with SEND

In contemporary discourse, sexuality is being presented as something fluid, with research persisting in framing sexuality as flexible and negotiable to some extent. This way of examining sexuality is problematic because as one discovers how identity changes and evolves, a certain terminology, such as ‘trend’ or ‘phase’ becomes prominent giving the illusion that LGBT+ pupils with SEND are easily influenced and too immature to form LGBT+ identities because of their cognitive impairments. Educators viewing sexuality and gender identity as a phase or a trend can result in providing inadequate support, which can be limited due to the misconception that information about LGBT+ concepts is not important for this category of pupils or that one can simply stop being LGBT+. This paper discusses the views and experiences of SEN teachers involving their pupils’ ways of exploring and expressing their LGBT+ identities and examines how this links to the misconception of their sexuality and gender as a phase or a trend due to their SENDs. Being inspired by the work of scholars exploring sexual and gender identity, the paper is framed by intersectionality which allows for a detailed analysis of how identities interact and inform when used as an analytic tool. The paper calls for more nuanced thinking of sexuality and gender in the lives of LGBT+ pupils with SEND, which will help to decrease inequality.