By Charlotte Hilton –
Every June is the month of Pride which is celebrated in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 where the LGBTQ community opposed the discriminative laws being enforced at the time.
Their protests lasted six days and were the driving force behind a significant rise in activism that lead us to where we are now, driving towards a more inclusive and accepting society.
Pride has become much more prevalent in the UK over the last few years with large parades taking part all over the country throughout the month.
Many brands and businesses are embracing the rainbow throughout June with a significant number of companies donating money to LGBTQ charities, such as sweets-maker Skittles and footwear brand Vans.
While it is clear that Pride representation and recognition is growing more and more every year, I think it is important to discuss how Pride is represented in the educational system throughout our community.
Discussing whether or not schools acknowledge Pride month and teach students why it is celebrated is important as this can be very helpful to young people struggling with their identity and helps to normalise such feelings.
New Laws, New Opportunities
In April 2019, a new law was passed in England which required more LGBTQ inclusive education to be provided in schools to promote diversity and inclusivity in the younger generations, in order to prepare them for modern life and relationships.
The new law guides that schools must teach about sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBTQ relationships also now need to be included in lessons when discussing healthy and stable relationships with the main overall theme of the education being to teach the young people the importance of equality and respect in their lives.
It has also been stated that by 2021, lessons will need to be given in the issues faced by the LGBTQ community, such as homophobia, transphobia and laws around same-sex marriage.
These new changes in the law of education and LGBTQ issues are a big step forward in the future of inclusivity throughout different communities.
It was only in 2003 when section 28, the law which “prohibits the promotion of homosexuality” was stopped.
The change to education is important and a big step for inclusivity, yet the month of Pride gives schools the opportunity to do more for the children that might be struggling with their sexuality.
If we are more open in our education system, it gives children the opportunity to be more accepting of LGBTQ diversity therefore possibly leading to a much smaller proportion of kids being bulled due to their sexuality.
How Schools Can Participate in Pride
While many aspects of pride involve celebratory activities such as parties, parades and large events, I think it is just as important that schools have a certain degree of focus on teaching students the history of Pride and why it’s so important in society.
A significant aspect of Pride that should be taught in schools is Black Pride, which was founded by Phyll Gyimah-Opoku in 2005 to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community from African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean backgrounds.
This is an important aspect of Pride that is not talked about as much but is crucial to members of this community who often face even more discrimination than others.
More people need to be educated in this in order to be truly inclusive.
There are many ways in which schools can show support for Pride Month and many schools and colleges in the Kirklees area.
Some institutions are already doing this through their social media profiles such as Kirklees College in Huddersfield and Dewsbury who have changed their Twitter photo to include the rainbow flag for the month.
Moor End Academy in Huddersfield has also changed its profile to include all the flags of Pride.
These are just a few examples of how schools and colleges can show inclusivity throughout pride month which gets young people involved in the LGBTQ conversation.
Additionally, there are many ways in which sessions can be made enjoyable and exciting when discussing Pride, including:
- Interactive lessons which teach Pride and inclusivity that allow children to make Art or videos about Pride Month
- Making decorations for the school to support Pride which can include students learning all the different Pride flags and what they mean
- A Pride school concert
- Charity events to raise money for LGBTQ charities such as ‘Stonewall’
Teaching Pride in Schools is essential in today’s society and it gives me great hope for the future to see that many more educational establishments are embracing Pride as including the younger generation in LGBTQ conversations will lead to much more overall acceptance in society.