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Dustin Lance Black says we should ‘celebrate our beautiful differences’ at School Diversity Week launch

Jasmine Andersson May 23, 2018

Dustin Lance Black has asked schools to celebrate “our beautiful differences” in a week-long bid to tackle homophobia in schools.

The screenwriter made a rallying cry for “a more beautiful world for all” at the launch of an initiative to raise awareness around LGBT+ issues in educational establishments 30 years after the introduction of Section 28.

“We’re here today to continue to share those stories of hope throughout this country,” said the screenwriter.

“That’s the power of personal story and the power of what you’re doing with this organisation… [sharing] stories of hope and collaboration – the spirit that says in our difference we are great and in our combined differences we are unbeatable… Continue to lead with that hope that says locked arm and arm with our beautiful differences, we can succeed, we can thrive and we can make this a more beautiful nation, a more beautiful world for all, not despite our differences, but thank God for them.”

Just Like Us/Jessica Grace Photography

Section 28, which was introduced in the Local Government Act of 1988 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, forbade schools “promoting the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

Now three decades on, School Diversity Week will take place across the country during the first week of July “to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia” across UK schools.

“Growing up, I never heard a teacher say anything positive about LGBT issues – it made school a lonely and frightening time.

“This year, 30 years after Section 28 banned homosexuality in the classroom, we want even more schools to join School Diversity Week and take action to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” said Just Like Us CEO Tim Ramsey at the event’s launch on May 22.

Just Like Us/Jessica Grace Photography

The event is much-needed in UK schools.

LGBT+ pupils and teachers alike still face significant troubles in being openly queer in their environment.

A third of LGBT+ teachers also stay in the closet at school.

 

Teacher in school
(Creative Commons)

Stonewall Cymru said that 54 percent of young LGBT people face bullying in schools.

That figure rose to a massive 73 percent for trans children, while 41 per cent of young trans people in Wales have tried to take their own life.

The act was in force until 2003, apart from in Kent, where it remained until 2004.

Prime Minister Theresa May has also voiced her support for the project in a video for the charity.

“Having visible role models who have been there before and know how it feels can help give a young person the confidence to embrace who they are. And they can encourage everyone in the school to be positive and accepting. That’s why I want to congratulate Just Like Us for running School Diversity Week,” the Prime Minister said.

“Thanks to the tireless work of campaigners like you, attitudes in this country have come a long way … the truth is that we all do better and our whole country is enriched when we are free to be ourselves.”

The initiative has been running for the past three years.

It began in 2016 with 38,000 pupils taking part.

The week will take place from July 2-8.

More: dustin lance black, Education, just like us, Schools Diversity Week, Section 28, Theresa May

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