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Out Tory MP Justine Greening: LGBT students ‘frankly deserve better’ sex ed

Ella Braidwood April 7, 2019
Justine Greening

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Justine Greening MP listens as Chris Grayling, Conservative Party MP and chairman of Theresa May's leadership campaign, speaks during a statement to the media following the decision by Andrea Leadsom to pull out of the campaign for Conservative Party leadership, on July 11, 2016 in London, England. Mrs Leadsom's decision now leaves Home Secretary Theresa May as the sole contender for the position of Prime Minister after David Cameron's decision to resign following the Brexit referendum last month. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Out Conservative MP and former education secretary Justine Greening has said LGBT+ young people “frankly deserve better” relationships and sex education (RSE) in England’s schools.

Greening, who came out as being in a “happy” same-sex relationship on Twitter in 2016, said that RSE needed to be modernised so that students are taught about LGBT+ relationships regardless of their backgrounds.

Speaking on ITV News’ podcast series Acting Prime Minster, Greening said: “For a whole generation of LGBT young people growing up in our schools who frankly deserve better than to be given the impression that the future relationships they’re going to go on and have in their lives are somehow bad and wrong.

“We owe it to them to make sure our schools are able to do a proper approach, a modern approach, on relationships and sex education.”

Former education secretary Justine Greening: LGBT+ students “deserve better” relationships and sex education

The MP for Putney’s comments come following protests organised by some conservative religious parents, of mostly Islamic faith, outside two schools in Birmingham over their LGBT+ inclusive education.

While Greening was education secretary, the government passed the Children and Social Work Act (2017), which she was involved in developing.

“For a whole generation of LGBT young people growing up in our schools who frankly deserve better than to be given the impression that the future relationships they’re going to go on and have in their lives are somehow bad and wrong.”

—Former education secretary Justine Greening

The act pledges to make Relationships Education (RE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all primary and secondary schools respectively in England.

According to draft guidance, which has been approved by MPs in the House of Commons, this will include teaching all students about “LGBT content at a timely point” from September 2020 onwards.

We owe it to LGBT+ young people to have a “modern” approach in sex education, says Justine Greening

Green, who also condemned Brunei’s new anti-LGBT+ penal code in the wide-ranging in interview, told ITV news political correspondent Paul Brand: “I was always clear in my mind that this needed to be age appropriate and when it came to more intimate relationships which would only be part of a secondary school curriculum, that parents should have the right to withdraw their child until that child got to an age when frankly they were able to make their own decisions.

Parents and protestors demonstrate against 'No Outsiders,' an LGBT-inclusive education.
Parents and protestors demonstrate against LGBT-inclusive education in Birmingham. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

“It was about striking a balance, but the bottom line is young people need to understand about a modern Britain and LGBT issues cut across religions and cultures—we can’t really have one cohort of young people not able to get the benefit of RSE when the rest of their peers are.”

Greening, who also told Brand that she would “consider” running in a Conservative Party leadership contest, served as education secretary from July 2016 until January 2018 when she resigned after a cabinet reshuffle.

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