Rainbow Pencils

School: What To Ask Potential Schools as an LGBTQ Family

With T’s first term at school over and done with, it’s made me realise not only how fast each term is now going to go (where did those 6 weeks go?!) but how far T has come in the short space of time that he’s been in school. He’s doing really well mentally and academically, and I can honestly say that we chose the best school for him. It’s probably not the best in terms of stats and accolades, but to us, those numbers don’t matter as much in comparison to how comfortable your child will be in school, as well as how supported they will be if problems were to ever arise. As soon as we visited T’s school we knew we had found the right one.

As a same sex family we were naturally anxious when we were viewing schools. Researching Ofstead reports and school results are easy, but it’s the stuff in-between, probably the more important things; such as school policies and attitudes in and around the school, which was harder to research and look into.

We were probably the “nightmare parents” when it came to open evenings as we were the ones looking through library books, the artwork on the walls, and asking dozens of questions about equality and inclusion and, dare I say it, their bullying policy. Don’t be naive to think that bullying won’t happen – regardless of whether you’re from a minority group or not – but it’s still important to know how a school deals with issues after that’s important.

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Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride and Protest [Gift]

Last month, we were sent Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride and Protest, a new book by Jamie Lawson and illustrated by Eve Lloyd Knight. A book about LGBTQ history, dating back as far as 1790. Although we’re the living result of LGBTQ History, we still don’t know it all, and we never want to stop learning either. This book helps me and my community do just that.

Unlike most moments in history that carved our children’s future – I use heroes like Emily Pankhurst and Martin Luther King Jr as example – and despite having a rich history, LGBTQ-specific history is so rarely spoken about and referenced. This is partly to do with ignorance and a lack of respect for our community, but it’s also because a lot of the time people are unaware of the contributions LGBTQ people had on history.

Did you know that Alan Turing – father of modern computing and all-time war hero – was Gay and later chemically castrated for being so? Also, in the 1940’s, when Nazi Germany was beaten and survivors of the Holocaust were rescued, people with LGBTQ identities were transferred from the concentration camps, where they were tortured and almost died, to a prison to continue a life-long sentence for being LGBTQ because it was illegal to be LGBTQ in Germany.

These are just a handful of stories featured in the Rainbow Revolutions, but there’s more. Here’s my review and why you NEED this book on your book shelf.

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Homo Sapiens: Several Reasons Why I Am LOVING This LGBTQ Podcast!

I’ve recently decided to start listening to Podcasts after realising I need something to distract myself without having to concentrate. Plus, they’re free to listen to!

I know I’m late to the party, but with a lack of time to read a book these days, I wanted to try and find something that would entertain me (and maybe even educate me). I really enjoy listening to people converse, so I decided on Podcasts instead of an audio book (although listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter is a real treat if you get the chance).

But where do I start? Do I go with current affairs or comedy? Crime or Sci-Fi? In the end, I decided on a subject close to my heart – LGBTQ – and found Homo Sapiens with Singer & Actor Will Young and Filmmaker Chris Sweeney. Branded as the “LGBTQ version of Woman’s Hour”, I was excited to give this a go.

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Busting the Myths on LGBTQ Education in Schools

This week, the BBC aired a short documentary about the recent protests outside schools in Birmingham, whereby parents – from primarily Muslim background – are protesting about children being taught about different families and relationships; including but not exclusive to LGBTQ families.

The programme was a difficult watch, and for me, as someone who is now so used to ignorance and hatred, the most challenging part was watching how staff members at the schools involved are dealing with this. These protests are now happening daily and they don’t appear to be stopping, despite so-called injunctions now being in place at certain schools.

The lessons – also under the name of the ‘No Outsiders’ project – were even recently halted to allow various groups the opportunity to share their “views” and consult with teaching staff, however no sooner after the lessons were re-introduced, after the consultation, the protests began again.

I wish I could predict lottery numbers as well as the way I can predict the actions of bigots and the ignorant. I’d be rich before I knew it. 

But the thing is, a common pattern throughout these protests is the information (or more-so, MIS-information) being fed to parents about the lessons, and as we all know; ignorance stems from fear. Fear of the unknown. On top of that, you also have deep-rooted homophobia which is being covered up as religious freedom and legitimate debate (It’s not. It’s just homophobia).

So with this in mind, here’s my guide to what these lessons are actually all about.

Let’s start at the beginning:

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Our Top List of LGBTQ Blogs and Influencers in the UK (SO FAR!)

It’s not an exaggeration when I say that I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I have seen an LGBTQ person or family feature in a brand campaign. I’m not talking about your big adverts like Gillete or IKEA (although they’re still very welcome!) or famous LGBTQ celebrities, I’m talking about families like mine  – people like me – in local campaigns. LGBTQ Blogs.

We’re simply too divisive or not as “popular” because we’re a bit niche. But the thing is, it’s because we’re a bit niche that we’re actually incredibly valuable. We’re a peek into what society really looks like today and we’re your way into making yourself more diverse and inclusive.

With this in mind, over the past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time increasing the visibility of families like mine and, in general, people like me. Online and in the media. I’ve challenged brands that aren’t up to scratch – both publicly and via email – and I’ve had really productive conversations with those in control of connecting influencers and bloggers with brands, asking why members of the LGBTQ community aren’t being put forward or represented.

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How to Build an LGBTQ-friendly Library for your Children

Before T was even born, Sharon and I were talking about our favourite books and what kind of books T would likely have on his shelves. Classics like; Guess How Much I Love You, Spot, and Goodnight Moon were all up there, but, very quickly, we realised that families like us were rarely represented in children’s books.

At first it was pretty easy to navigate around, we would perhaps change the odd “mum” to a “dad” so that there were two dads in a story, or visa versa; replacing the odd “dad” with a “mama”. But as time went on, or when T started wanting to look at the pictures in the books and subsequently challenging our choice in character, we realised we had to expand our library to make sure he was represented, not to mention show him a fair representation of society!

We already had a few diverse and inclusive books in our collection, but no where near enough LGBTQ books – we needed more.

*contains affiliate links

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