The importance of LGBTQ education in schools

Those of us that grew up before and during the days of Section 28, when knowledge of LGBTQ identities was either lacking or expressly forbidden, carry the scars of having our identities invalidated.

We were demonised, dehumanised and othered. Our mental health suffered due to the isolation and absence of support. Many of us struggled with depression, self harm or suicidal thoughts, and sometimes actions. We will carry that pain and those scars with us to the grave.

We must take the opportunity to ensure that future generations do not face this prejudice. Young people must be educated about LGBTQ identities and they must feel that they have the freedom and support to explore what that means to them.

Some may say that we are putting ideas into young people’s heads, that we are confusing them and converting them to an LGBTQ lifestyle. To those people I ask how many children have ever become regular churchgoers through Religious Education and mandatory prayers and hymns at school? Those of us that are parents know how difficult it is to persuade a teenager to tidy their bedroom, let alone change their gender identity or sexuality.