New research by nfpSynergy, commissioned by Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, finds widespread support among the British public for LGBT-inclusive education.
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) who support LGBT-inclusive teaching.
The new figures highlight how attitudes towards LGBT-inclusive education have shifted since the charity was founded 30 years ago to lobby against Section 28. This legislation effectively banned conversations about same-sex relationships in schools and ushered in a dark era where LGBT young people and teachers were forced to hide who they were.
Even though Section 28 was eventually repealed, its devastating impact is still felt in schools today. Stonewall’s 2017 research found that two in five LGBT pupils (40 per cent) are never taught anything about LGBT issues at school, while almost half (45 per cent) are bullied for being themselves.
Stonewall works with over a thousand schools, including over 600 faith schools, to deliver an LGBT-inclusive curriculum and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
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).
Paul Twocock, Chief Executive, Stonewall said: ‘LGBT-inclusive education is life-changing teaching for so many young people, which is why it’s so powerful to see so much of the British public support the new legislation.
‘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. 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.’
From September 2020, all secondary schools will be required to teach about sexual orientation and gender identity, and all primary schools will teach about different families, which can include LGBT families.
Many lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people have already spoken out about how life-changing teaching about LGBT people would be.