New network set to launch for LGBT teachers in the UK
A new support network for LGBT+ teachers will be launched this Saturday 2 June – just after the 30th anniversary of the Thatcher government enacting the controversial Section 28.
LGBTed will provide an an online community for queer teachers and help create role models in schools.
It’s being launched by Daniel Gray, gay teacher, who came out to 1,000 students at his school in February last year, and Hannah Jepson, director of assessment and selection at Ambition School Leadership, a national education charity.
Speaking to PinkNews, Gray said: “LGBTed is a timely intervention that will build a network of LGBT+ teachers and leaders – empowering them to be authentic in schools, colleges and universities – to support students and to be an advocate for increasing LGBT+ visibility in our education system.”
“It will affect real change for teachers and leaders in order to make schools more inclusive.”
Gray, who teaches at Harris Academy South Norwood in south London, added: “When I was at school, during the time of Section 28, I was bullied in the most horrific ways for being gay before I even knew that I was.”
“When I reported it to teachers, I was just told: ‘it’s something you have to deal with.’ They were forbidden from discussing it.”
“Unfortunately, the legacy of Section 28 still lingers and a significant proportion of teachers and school leaders still do not know how to deal with LGBT+ issues, let alone support an LGBT+ person in their school.”
Gray said that LGBTed will “use its links with universities,” particularly the Carnegie Centre at Leeds Beckett University, to “share research into being ‘out’ at work in schools and colleges.”
“I’m in a privileged position now where I can be that person and be that role model I needed when I was at school,” he said.
The network is being supported by schools minister Nick Gibb, who is openly gay.
More than 100 teachers and school leaders will attend the launch this Saturday, with speeches from leading figures in the education industry.
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The event will provide workshops on how to tackle homophobia and transphobia, as well as how to be an advocate for LGBT+ issues.
A report released by Stonewall last year found that 45 percent of LGBT+ pupils – including 64 percent of trans students – are bullied for their gender or sexual identity at school.
The publication also revealed that four in 10 of LGBT+ pupils have never been taught about LGBT+ issues, and only one fifth have learned about safe sex in same-sex relationships.
More: Section 28