“Britain is a nation of tolerance, of respect, of freedom, and we must hold these values high as a beacon for the rest of the world to follow.”
So said Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, as he appealed to the humanity of people repeatedly demonstrating against LGBT lessons at a Birmingham primary school during the last school year.
New research commissioned by Stonewall suggests he is largely backed by the public. nfpSynergy’s report found that most British people (60 per cent) believe it’s right to teach primary school pupils about different kinds of families, including same-sex parenting. Among young people, aged 16-24, this figure increases to over two thirds (68 per cent).
Stonewall works with more than a thousand schools, including over 600 faith schools, to deliver an LGBT-inclusive curriculum and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Stonewall’s 2019 Young Campaigner of the Year, Ben Saunders, said: “LGBT-inclusive education makes a massive difference when you’re in school and you’re LGBT. So many people feel isolated and left out on their own because they’ve never learnt about being LGBT. It can be the difference between deciding to turn up to lessons or not, and even the difference between holding out hope for the future or not.”
As part of the charity’s 30th birthday celebrations, Stonewall is calling on the public to ‘come out’ in support for LGBT-inclusive education. People are being asked to share why LGBT-inclusive education matters to them and write to their local authorities in support of the new incoming regulations for teaching relationships and sex education (RSE).
From September next year, all secondary schools will be required to teach about sexual orientation and gender identity, and all primary schools will teach about different families, including LGBT families.
“This move towards inclusive teaching marks the beginning of the end of the dark era that Stonewall has been working towards since we were founded 30 years ago,” said the charity’s chief executive, Paul Twocock. “We owe it to the next generation to ensure our schools are a place where all children and young people can be themselves. It’s essential the Government invests more in training and resources to better prepare teachers and schools to deliver high quality LGBT-inclusive teaching, now and in the future.
“We need more people from all walks of life to come out for LGBT people and be vocal in their support for inclusive education.”