In the news this week, it was announced that an increasing number of schools across Birmingham have stopped their LGBT+ relationship education directly as a result of protesting parents.
This should be a national scandal.
A select few parents have protested against teaching children that same-sex relationships exist and are ok.
I have a message for these parents.
Just as our rich and vibrant communities are made of people from many religious and ethnic backgrounds, they include people who identify as LGBT+. Our schools teach children about all religions which helps to ensure our children grow into adults who are accepting, kind and understanding towards all people, irrespective of their religious background. We must do the same for the LGBT community as we have done for religious communities.
Schools are not converting anyone to becoming LGBT+, just as they are not converting anyone to becoming Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian or Atheist.
Intolerance is intolerance, and it is our responsibility to build a kinder, more inclusive future for the next generation.
Being gay is not a choice. Being LGBT+ and being religious are not mutually exclusive.
All children need to have LGBT inclusive education.
30 years ago, the Conservatives’ Section 28 legislation prohibited kids from learning it was ok to be gay – and a generation of adults today are still suffering from it.
Restricting LGBT awareness education has real consequences – it affects mental health, self-esteem, well-being, and giving everyone the chance to a life with an understanding of who they are and respect for others.
It is the job of schools to teach our children about the reality of life.
And it is the job of government, including Andrea Leadsom, to back our schools not undermine them.