LGBT+ History Month: Education for all

4 min read | Paul Matthias | Article | Workplace Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Corporate social responsibility DE&I

LGBT+ History Month

Imagine not being able to teach simply because of your sexuality? February is LGBT+ History Month, founded in 2005 by Schools OUT UK, an education charity that originally began in 1974 as The Gay Teachers Association – formed after a teacher lost his job due to his sexuality. The charity, which has now been campaigning for LGBT+ inclusive education for 49 years, aims to make schools and places of education safe for all members of the LGBTQ+ community, including teachers, pupils, parents and support staff.

The month is an annual celebration and acknowledgement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. It’s a time when we can look back over the huge milestones achieved for the community, such as the legalisation of gay marriage, and look towards eradicating some of the prejudices that are sadly still present, creating a better future for generations to come. The month’s official slogan, “Claiming our past – Celebrating our present – Creating our future”, summarises it perfectly.

 

Why is it important to cover these issues in schools?

LGBT+ History Month was set up to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28, laws that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools and by local authorities. It prevented LGBT+ youth from seeing representation in books, plays, media – to name just a few – and teachers were not able to teach about same-sex relationships. The effects of the legislation in schools led to bullying and hate, lack of support for children, and – in many cases – made teachers feel unable to step in to help when pupils were being victimised.

Regardless of individuals’ political or religious views, the fact is that a huge number of pupils will identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and if they don’t, they will encounter people who do across the course of their lives. It’s important to teach respect, kindness and how to not be prejudiced – in the same way we do about race, religion, age, disability and more – to help lessen the likelihood of bullying or isolation during school years and foster a society of equality. Some children, for example, will live with same-sex parents, some may attend an LGBTQ+ wedding, others may come to realise they are LGBTQ+ themselves or have a sibling who falls under the umbrella. As Stonewall highlights, “All LGBTQ+ children and young people deserve an education that reflects who they are.”

 

What’s happening this year?

Each year, LGBT+ History Month has been tied into a subject in the National Curriculum. Recent years have seen it linked to geography, English, PSHE and art, and this year’s theme is ‘Under the Scope’ – which celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to the field of medicine and healthcare both historically and today. Schools OUT UK provides age-appropriate resources on the website for teachers across early years, primary, secondary and further education to help teach about discrimination, prejudice, equity – to name just a few – while celebrating some of the influential figures in this space.

We’re incredibly proud to support this cause and, as experts in education recruitment, we strive to create a more diverse future for the organisations we work with and continue to help the individuals we place in roles on a daily basis towards welcoming, safe and inclusive career paths.

Our Education Hub contains a growing library of digital learning resources to empower your staff, including wellbeing, safeguarding and compliance training, along with a huge array of DE&I courses.

 

About this author

Paul has been with Hays since 1999 and the National Director of Hays Education since 2007. He is responsible for leading experts from 40 offices across the UK who specialise in recruiting for Early Years, Primary, Secondary, SEN, Further Education and Leadership staff on a daily supply, long term supply or permanent basis. His extensive experience is invaluable to ensuring schools, colleges, nurseries, academies and MATs have access to the best possible candidates.

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