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 – we needed more.

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A How-To Guide to Being an LGBTQ Ally

This week has been a difficult one for the LGBTQ community, it’s been exhausting to say the least. If it wasn’t being  compared to a contagion, it was hearing someone tell me that I chose to be gay.

But the thing that probably broke the proverbial camel’s back, what’s hurt the most, is the disappearance of so many so-called “allies”.  It’s not that they’ve turned homophobic – far from it – it’s just that haven’t been a little absent during our time of need.

Definition of an Ally:

A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and cis-gender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

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A Letter to Andrea Leadsom from a Two Mum Family.

Dear Andrea Leadsom,

I’m still angry.

Just like the contagion you compared me and my family to, your rancid words are still flowing through my veins. I would have written to you sooner, but the rage that spilled from my heart stopped the words from flowing. It burned like lava. Besides, someone else wrote it better.

To this day I still don’t know whether you understand the scale in which your words have hurt me and my community. An apology and retraction would go a long way right now, although I feel that the damage has already been done.

We know you’re not exactly an ally to minority groups, you have never voted on equal gay rights , you have never voted on allowing the marriage between same-sex couples, and you almost always voted against laws to promote equality and human rights (9 votes against and 3 absences!) – you must be so proud of your voting record – but how can you say that my son isn’t worthy of validation amongst his peers.

How do you sleep at night?

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T’s Reads: Alien Nation by Matty Donaldson

This week was National Coming Out Day. If you’ve not heard of it or had your head in the sand for 24 hours, it’s a day to celebrate the coming out of the LGBTQ community (as a member or as an ally). We’ve written our feelings about the day before, which you can find over here.

Founded in the United States in 1988, the initial idea was grounded in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, and the emphasis on the most basic form of activism being coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.

Wikipedia

As well as a form of protest, it’s also an opportunity for members of the community to educate others on the language they use and advise others on what they can do to help those still in the proverbial closet.

In keeping with the theme, we were recently sent a children’s book that does this.

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