Hey! So, if you guys remember, I went to a weekend and learnt some stuff about how to campaign… And I guess this is me announcing my project? For the next year or so I’m going to be working to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ history, with a focus on getting it into schools.
Homophobia and transphobia is still present in schools, and can be highly damaging to young LGBTQ+ people. Nine in ten secondary school teachers say pupils are bullied, harassed, or called names for being perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual (The Teacher’s Report, 2014). Three quarters of trans young people say they have experienced name calling, and 27% have attempted suicide (Metro Youth Chances 2014).
Schools have a legal duty to promote the wellbeing of all young people, including those who are LGBTQ+, and there is clear Ofsted guidance looking at how schools tackle homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Despite all this, over half of young people have never learnt about LGBT issues in school (The School Report, 2012).
In raising greater awareness and discussion of LGBTQ+ history in schools, we can support LGBTQ+ students and teachers, celebrate LGBTQ+ stories from the past, and through learning help tackle prejudice. History is so important to help us understand and navigate our own lives; it can empower and educate our opinions on the world we live in. But when LGBTQ+ voices are erased from our education it can seem that LGBTQ+ people do not have a place in that history, or in our present society.
LGBTQ+ young people are at high risk of suicidal thoughts, depression, and self-harm. As a queer young person I’ve found it incredibly isolating to never see other people like me in my learning. Leaving LGBTQ+ people out of learning only creates the sense of difference, the sense that we somehow do not deserve a space as much as non-LGBTQ+ people. I believe it is incredibly vital that we work to ensure that others do not feel this way.
LGBTQ+ history can be integrated in so many ways as part of students’ education, whether that is within the history curriculum itself, or as part of an assembly or PSHE lesson. LGBT History Month is held every February in the UK, and the theme of 2017 LGBT History Month is Citizenship, PSHE, and Law. Pride Month, held every June, is another excellent opportunity. Both LGBT History Month and Schools Out, a charity working for LGBT equality and visibility in education, have many resources available for schools and teachers, among others.
We want to learn LGBTQ+ history. We want to see it as a part of school life. Therefore I’m asking schools to commit to including LGBTQ+ history in their schools — not just once but into the future as well.
I know there’s a lot of bad stuff happening in the world right now, and I know that perhaps this is not the worst of it — but I thought this might be a good place to begin, because I have to begin somewhere. I didn’t want to do something that wasn’t mine to champion. Since over the last while I’ve become pretty passionate about LGBTQ+ things, I thought that would be a good place to start.
This project is going to involve several different things, but to start with: I have written a letter. I’m going to be sending this letter to schools in the UK, but I need your help in supporting it. If you could share this, keep an eye on my work, or do a little research of your own about LGBTQ+ history then it would be so greatly appreciated.
I’ve got a couple of things that I want to do — just researching for this has opened up a lot to me, and I really want to share things with you! This is a journey for me too since I’ve basically never learnt about LGBTQ history, sadly. February is LGBT History Month in the UK so you can look forwards to some posts about that, and if you have any suggestions for what you want to see, then let me know! (Would you guys want a page of links and ways to find out about LGBTQ+ history? A Twitter chat? How you can do stuff in your own area) In the meantime, you can follow a subscription letter that I made for this to update you, if you would so wish. Thanks for reading. ❤