Openly gay Labour MP Wes Streeting said conservative parents protesting inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) in primary schools “should know better.”
The former Stonewall campaigner said on BBC’s Newsnight on Wednesday (May 15) that hatred towards minorities is on the rise, and that Muslims “bearing the brunt” of hatred towards religious communities should know what it feels like to be discriminated against.
“Those of us who are on the receiving end of prejudice know better than anyone what that feels like, and we have a responsibility in the current climate to stand alongside each other,” he said.
Streeting is the co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on British Muslims.
“I'm an openly gay parliamentarian in the gayest parliament in the world, I’m an Anglican & my church’s teaching on sexuality is at odds with my own experience"
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) May 15, 2019
Wes Streeting’s message to parents: “You should know better”
Streeting said: “I’ve got some bad news for the parents holding up placards saying, ‘We are not homophobic.’ You’re standing alongside people making those statements, talking about proselytising to children, the homosexual agenda, promiscuity.
“If you are a perpetrator of that language, if you are a bystander to that language, I’m afraid you’re homophobic. And my message to them is: You should know better.”
Newsnight showed an interview with protest organiser Amir Ahmed who said that children are being “conditioned to accept this as a normal way of life and it makes the children more promiscuous as they grow older.”
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“It’s not about gay and lesbian rights and equality, this is purely about proselytising a homosexual way of life,” said Ahmed.
“Changing laws is only part of the challenge, it’s about changing hearts and minds.”
— Wes Streeting
Streeting sat opposite Leicester imam Ibrahim Mogra, who said he didn’t think there was an “active effort” on the part of the LGBT+ community to “convert” people.
“I am a firm believer that if there is a child who comes to school with two mummies or two daddies it’s only right that his classmates know about this. That would reduce bullying and discrimination. From what I understand, the whole driver for this is not the promotion of an LGBT agenda, it’s about inclusivity,” Mogra said.
Labour MP Wes Streeting: “We are moving in the right direction”
Streeting added on Newsnight: “Changing laws is only part of the challenge, it’s about changing hearts and minds.”
“I am at the intersection of this. I’m an openly gay parliamentarian in the gayest parliament in the world, I’m an Anglican and my church’s teaching on sexuality is at odds with my own experience. I believe in religious freedom but it’s about respect and understanding,” he continued.
“We can work through this, we are moving in the right direction. For those things on the school gates, our country is a far more inclusive and respectful place than it was 20 years ago and long may it continue. We’ve got to defend and extend that state of affairs.”
LGBT+ inclusive lessons are included in the No Outsiders programme, started by assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat in Birmingham, teaching primary school children about discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disabilities, and sexual orientation.
It sparked protests from mostly Muslim parents at Moffat’s school Parkfield, before demonstrations spread to other schools in Birmingham and across the UK.