LGBTQ+ History in Schools

lgbtq hstory in schools.jpg

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. ❤

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36 thoughts on “LGBTQ+ History in Schools

  1. YOU are amazing. I admire you so so much and I’m sharing this because it is so incredibly important. Keep on doing this, spreading awareness, showing schools they should talk xx

  2. This is such a great idea! I remember at school, our PSHE lessons involved drinking, drugs, and safe sex but that was mostly for a heterosexual couple. My teacher was really good, but I think it was mainly at the time it wasn’t spoken about so much compared to now (and this wasn’t long ago… I’m only in my second year at university now!) Definitely important to get the word out!

  3. Eve! Such a good idea! I hope the schools learns something from this (and maybe cut the PE classes so they can teach things that are actually useful 😛 )

      • Yeah.. exercise is important but then again I would prefer to have had self-defense and first-aid classes instead.. I mean, those could save a life! (and I would have preferred that over running after a ball no one actually throws in my direction)

      • I think PE/sports/equivalent could DEFINITELY be improved. Like, not just paying attention to ‘sporty’ people and leaving others to stand freezing for hours. Definitely, yes self defense and first aid classes! I wish we could do more of those.

  4. YESSSSS. Yes! Ahhh this is so important and I’m so proud of you! If you want some recs of nonfiction books to read or documentaries to watch to help with this project, I’d be happy to suggest some, too. 😊

  5. Hey from another queer action for change-er! Your project idea is great, it’s something that is definitely missing in schools that should be changed. Also I love your blog post, your writing is wonderful! 😊

  6. Eve!! Somehow I missed this but this is amazing!! I hope this works, and I would love love love to see more LGBTQ+ history in schools. Like, apparently Langston Hughes was bisexual. There were lots of queer women who did amazing things. I WANNA LEARN ABOUT THEM. Best of luck to you!
    (Also, fun fact: at my school, they have this cool little sticker teachers who are LGBTQ friendly [which should be all of them because their teaching and duty to their students should not overlap with their flawed personal beliefs but I digress] put in the corner of the windows on the doors and it’s just this rainbow state of Georgia and it’s really rad!!)

    • Aah no worries, thank you!! HOPEFULLY IT DOES, but I’m scared ;-;
      Yess! Just looking through there are a LOT of cool people I just?? Didn’t know about? (And ooh that’s super cool. I look at a poster of him opposite me in English.)
      (AH REALLY that is so cool!!!! I love it!! @ my school we should get this ahsdghjlf)

  7. How wonderful, Eve – best of luck with this project! Also, if you’d like any advice, I’m always here. Not sure if you know, but I’m currently conducting academic research on LGBT+ adolescents in Singapore & how poetry has contributed to the construction of their queer identities. It’s not exactly the same (as my research is more scholarly than practical), but I would be happy to sit down & chat over Skype if you ever need guidance. I truly cannot wait to see how this project turns out & hear your updates, my love! I have no doubt it will be incredible. ❤

  8. Pingback: Winter Favourites | Twist in the Taile

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