Recent weeks have seen an onslaught of abuse targeting first Parkfield School in Birmingham, where an award-winning assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat, has devised a brilliant programme to meet the school’s legal requirement to promote tolerance and kindness to all people, and now other schools as well.
Moffat’s ‘No Outsiders’ programme teaches pupils about the Equality Act and emphasises that equality means treating all people with dignity and respect, regardless of race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, sex, gender, or disability status.
Although the school has support from Ofsted and a majority of people in the UK, the school and now other schools in Birmingham and Manchester have decided to suspend the lessons on tolerance – in response to homophobic demands.
This is old-fashioned homophobia from people who take the view that it’s not okay to be gay. One protester, for example, told the BBC that ‘morally we do not accept homosexuality as a valid sexual relationship to have.’
Making matters much worse, the UK Government has failed to stand up for schools here – with both the Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, and the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, saying that tolerance to LGBT people need not be taught.
We are deeply worried that the UK Government – and other governments watching – will take the view that LGBT rights are no longer important in 2019. And we are worried that small, unrepresentative, homophobic religious groups are going to succeed in overturning decades of social progress.
Please, we are asking you to sign our petition today and tell UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds, and the other governments of the UK: ‘I want you to make it compulsory for every school to teach about equality, including LGBT equality, as part of lessons on tolerance.’ If enough people sign, we will have a powerful tool at our disposal to argue that all schools should teach tolerance and stand up to hate.
Supporting LGBT young people in the face of these hostile communities is vitally important, so we need to see this petition succeed. When it gets enough signatures we will share it with the Government and let you know what response we get.