An amazing letter from a student sums up why this lesbian teacher says she feels she has to come out to her students every day.
Emma Baldry, 31, says now that she is out as gay, she feels she has no choice but to be open about her sexuality.
She entered a civil partnership in 2009, and as she took her partner’s surname, students began to ask questions.
“Many of the older pupils started to ask what my husband was called and I had a choice to make,” she told the Liverpool Echo.
Going on, she said she felt she had to be open, saying: “I’d gone through enough time living as not me so I promised myself that now I’d found who I truly was I would never ever hide my sexuality again.”
Baldry also brought in a photo of her, her partner and their cat, in a lesson for year 7s on different types of families.
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“It isn’t a question of me walking into a classroom and saying ‘hi, I’m Mrs Baldry and I’m a lesbian teacher’ but we talk about how all families are different and every one is special because of it. It’s my way of letting kids know that my room is a safe space to talk about anything, and that it is all-inclusive.”
Going on, she said she hoped to help students with good family relationships who are scared to come out.
One letter she received from a student struggling with their sexuality bolstered why Baldry is open about her sexuality.
The student wrote: “If it wasn’t for you I don’t think I would have ever ‘come out’ at Risedale. WheN I first started here I was really scared to ‘come out’ mainly because the words ‘gay’ and ‘dyke’ were used all the time as insults but also because at that time there wasn’t anyone else that I knew of that had ‘came out’. The I heard that you had come out and because you were a teacher it made being gay more normal and accepted.
“Then when you started doing LGBT assemblies and lessons it changed loads of students opinions and being out wasn’t so weird. It made it a lot easier for me to come out knowing that youw ere out. I always felt I had someone to talk to and go to. It was also really nice to have lessons that were based on gay relationships instead of it always being about heterosexual couples. Also hearing your stores about when you came out made me feel a lot better to know I wasn’t the only person in the world (which it sometimes feels like).”
She also says she was scared to be open, as she first knew she was gay when Section 28 was still in force.
But she first came out in 2011, after a visit from out gay former Lance Corporal James Wharton, but said she wanted students to know they had an out member of staff after he left.