The British National Union of Teachers has approved a motion on the positive portrayal of same-sex relationships in school sex education. The motion is calling on teachers to put pressure on the government to integrate the positive representation of gay marriage in sex education policies across the UK and to provide teacher training so that educators can effectively deal with homophobic and transphobic issues.
At the moment, secondary schools in the UK that are run by local councils need only provide basic sex education, but there’s no emphasis on a particular gender, Javier Espinoza, Education Editor for The Telegraph, says.
The General Secretary of the NUT Christine Blower calls for awareness raising for LGBT people that starts at school:
“Future governments must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exist in some schools. Lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people are all part of their local school communities as teachers, support staff, students, parents and governors.”
Blower highlights:”The NUT is at the forefront in the campaign for equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all students and staff, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The NUT declarations have upset several Christian charities and organizations. Andrea Williams of Christian Concern says:
“This kind of policy is dangerous for our children who are being oversexualised at a very young age. They are being introduced to concepts and having normalised sex relationships which robs them of their innocence and is not good for their emotional and moral wellbeing.”
With a similar tone, Simon Calver, the deputy director of the Christian Institute, considers the motion to be “an act of intolerance towards mainstream Christians and their beliefs,” highlighting that schools are already promoting tolerance as is. The motion emphasizes that schools are meant to be places where students, staff, and teachers can enjoy a positive, constructive educational experience free from fear and discrimination.
The motion is an attempt to remind the Coalition Government of a promise made five years ago on tackling homophobia, Annette Pryce, union executive contends.
Delegates of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers union in the UK, have pointed out the dangers of homophobic bullying. Delegate from Redbridge Michael Dance considers it rife in the school system and responsible for pushing students toward self-harming and even suicide.
The motion will make it easier for educators and teachers to discuss sexuality and gender at school and it will be a step forward in regard to fighting LGBT prejudice against teachers, staff and students.
This is not the case at the moment at several British schools, as “despite recent gains, many schools still remained hostile places for lesbian and gay teachers and pupils, while same-sex marriage remained an uncomfortable subject in spite of its improved legal status” Richard Adams of the Guardian writes.