My “coming out” story is short and boring. I was bicurious for a few years which eventually led me to discovering I was indeed bisexual. I told my parents before I left to travel (literally at the airport) and they were surprised, but ultimately didn’t care.
You see I have a lot of LGBTQI+ role models. My aunt is a lesbian and my uncle (on the other side) is gay. But for so many young people they don’t have those role models and it’s a scary time for them. Bullying is rife around HBT (homophobia, biphobia and transphobia), hopefully less so than 20 years ago but it’s still there. It’s there every time a kid says, “that’s so gay” or calls there friend a “faggot’’.
A lot of these students don’t know anyone who’s LGBTQI+ and if they’re questioning who they are, they don’t have anywhere to go.
So that’s why this event was so incredibly inspiring. To hear how we can normalise the LGBTQI+ community so students have the knowledge and the experiences to be able to deal with life outside the school walls, and sometimes inside them too.
We heard about article 147 and how it’s not just something we should do, but are legally required to. We have a duty to foster inclusive relationships and make sure the students can be comfortable with not just who they are but who everyone else is too.
I found it interesting that a lot of schools policy regarding racial remarks is exclusion but homophobic remarks are reduced to isolation. Both go against the fundamental British values and so should both be treated equally; not just in disciplinary measures but also in curriculum time, assemblies and CPD. I haven’t even started my job yet and I gave up a Saturday to educate myself about these things. I can’t think of a training session I had that directly talked about these issues and I was in a school with a yr7 transgender student.
All I ask of you is this: What does your school do to support the LGBTQI+ community, both staff and students? And can it do more?