The party wants to make sure using ‘gay’ as an insult becomes a thing of the past
If you're reading this, you probably grew up in a schoolyard where you heard the word "gay" or "lesbian" deployed as an insult. That's why Labour has announced that they will introduce LGBT-inclusive sex education for ages five and up in order to provide support for the estimated 215,000 LGBT students in British schools. And to educate clueless straight kids as well, obviously.
Under Labour's proposals, teachers will be trained in how to deal with homophobic bullying. Age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) will also become compulsory in all schools.
Speaking at school in Ilford, East London, Shadow Education Secretary Tristam Hunt said: "The presence of homophobic bullying in our classrooms, playgrounds and dinner halls is deeply troubling, and it is very real. The use of homophobic language and other forms of homophobic bullying is damaging the life chances of so many young people. Schools have a duty to show a zero-tolerance approach to the use of homophobic language and bullying."
Hunt's assertion that homophobia is destroying education for some students is backed up by LGBT charity Stonewall, which published figures earlier this week revealing that 52,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual pupils will miss school because of bullying, while the schoolwork of 70,000 will suffer as a result. 37,000 will change their future plans because of homophobia experienced in the classroom.
There is still work to be done beyond schools to improve LGBT rights, whether that's on the streets, in the workplace and in politics. But providing a foundation for future generations to build on is a step that needs taking, whether that's from Labour or any other political party. It's time that being queer in the classroom went from being big news to no big deal at all.
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