LGBT groups unite over inclusive education

Over 30 other LGBT+ organisations and campaigners have come together to support LGBT+ inclusion in education in a public letter responding to a recent wave of incited LGBTphobia and propaganda.

Below is an open letter, released Friday 22nd March 2019.

Why LGBT-inclusive education matters more than ever

In recent weeks, we have been deeply saddened and alarmed to witness targeted campaigns against LGBT-inclusive teaching in our schools, in the media and online.  Growing up should be a positive experience for everyone, and our schools have a vital role to play in this. Difference is a fact of life, and is something that should be understood and celebrated – this is at the heart of our work to make the world a more accepting place for LGBT people.  An education which is LGBT-inclusive and teaches children to accept differences in other is crucial in building a society based on tolerance and respect.

These campaigns, organised by a small group of individuals, have spread misinformation in an attempt to build opposition to LGBT-inclusive teaching. Their calls echo the damaging rhetoric that surrounded the introduction of Section 28, a piece of legislation that banned the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in our schools.  Even though Section 28 was repealed in 2003, it scarred a generation of LGBT people, and continues to cast a long shadow today.  Many teachers are still unsure of whether they can teach pupils that LGBT people exist.

Teaching about people from all different walks of life, including LGBT people, makes sure that every child sees themselves and their family reflected in what they learn.  It ensures that all young people develop inclusive attitudes towards those who are different to them, helping to tackle the anti-LGBT and prejudice-based bullying that remains widespread in our schools.  It tackles the myth that being LGBT is a choice, rather than simply a part of who someone is. It also supports every LGBT young person to grow up knowing there is absolutely nothing wrong with who they are, and who they love.

All children have the right to exist, love and be loved.

Together, we work with thousands of schools across Britain to help them deliver LGBT-inclusive teaching and create inclusive learning environments. This includes hundreds of faith schools and church schools, who are challenging the false narrative that you can’t be LGBT and of faith. We must also recognise the experiences of the many people of faith who are also LGBT, and the fact that many have found love and acceptance in both their religious and LGBT communities.

Homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and any other type of prejudice, is always unacceptable. While we have made huge progress in recent decades, we can’t lose ground on this now. We must stand together to fight for a world where everyone is accepted for who they are.  We must continue to work toward delivering an equal society which is free from discrimination.

We are living in uncertain times. Particularly in light of last week’s horrendous attacks on Muslim communities in Christchurch, East London and Surrey, it’s more important than ever that we stand together against efforts to divide us.

Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with schools across the country who are working to make this vision a reality.