Education equality organisation Schools Out has been granted charity status during LGBT History Month.
Schools Out UK initiated LGBT History Month and made the decision to become a charity in order to ensure that its important role as a provider of resources and training to make schools safer for LGBT students and teachers could be sustained.
The approach used by the organisation, it says, is to ensure that LGBT people are “actualised and utilised” within schools.
Noting continuing homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools as a reason its work is more important than ever, Schools Out points to its 2013 survey which revealed that a third of students hear the word “gay” used negatively more than once a day, and that 72% of teachers would welcome specific training to tackle homophobia.
The charity aims to ensure equal treatment of LGBT students and teachers by offering resources such as free inclusive lesson plans via The Classroom’s website.
Sue Sanders, one of the co-chairs of Schools Out said: “We are incredibly proud to become a charity to ensure we can continue to challenge homophobia and transphobia which sadly is all too prevalent in schools and society today. One of my proudest moments was to campaign successfully for the repeal of Section 28 in 2003.
“Section 28 was a UK law which had the effect of preventing schools from ‘promoting’ LGBT people and their ‘lifestyles’. This is law which Russia is replicating today and which we also must ensure is repealed.”
Schools Out aims to bring all of these resources and services together under the LGBT History Month heading on a new website to launch later in 2014.
Founded in 1974, it is approaching its 40 year anniversary, and will celebrate by holding a conference on 15 May titled ‘Educate Out Prejudice.
Schools Out said: “LGBT History Month is more important than ever this year as ongoing concerns over the treatment of LGBT people in other countries such as Russia, India, Uganda and Nigeria have hit the headlines. With the badge ‘Claiming our history, celebrating our present and creating our future’ History Month will continue to press for equality and visibility of LGBT people around the globe all year round.”