As a member of the LGBTIQA* community and someone who has worked with HOSI Salzburg for many years, I was introduced to topics of diversity early on. As a psychologist and an educator, a major focus of my studies has always been on better understanding questions of racism, sexism, ableism and many other forms of discrimination. I have developed my theoretical understanding of these concepts, as well as tried to listen to the voices of those our society discriminates against in various ways.
This has taught me three things: first, that it is important to stand up for others when they experience discrimination. Secondly, I don’t need to experience discrimination myself or be able to relate to it in order to offer understanding and a space of relative safety. And third, that we need to listen to minoritised voices and help amplify them.
I try to make time to listen to others, to understand their lived reality, and to meet them with kindness, understanding, and to be as accommodating as possible. We have a responsibility of care within our human community, which involves creating safer spaces, listening to others and standing up for them.
It is important to me that my students know that my classroom is exactly such a space, and that they can be their authentic selves during class. At the end of day, how are we supposed to learn anything if our energy has to go into trying to hide who we really are?