NOT SO GAY! Homophobic abuse of our youngsters
August 14, 2012
Greater Manchester Classroom Teachers Speak Out – and highlight the homophobic abuse and discrimination experienced by their pupils and colleagues. Launch of Greater Manchester Prevalence of Homophobia Survey of 750 classroom teachers at the North of England’s largest celebration of human sexual diversity, Gay Pride 2012.
The near unanimous voices of over 750 classroom teachers working in Greater Manchester confirm the shocking news that the homophobic abuse of children remains an endemic feature of our increasingly independent schools system. The report will be launched at the world premiere of the Pink Triangle Theatre’s new play to assist schools in challenging homophobia and to coincide with Manchester Pride, the North’s largest annual Gay Pride Festival. The Greater Manchester Prevalence of Homophobia Report 2012 is the result of a pioneering campaign by local associations of the National Union of Teachers to survey their members’ views on levels of homophobia in schools. The report has been sponsored by SchoolsOUT, the oldest UK teachers’ organisation campaigning against homophobia and transphobia. SchoolsOUT have raised concerns about private companies that have been handed the running of the curriculum through the Academies programme. Until very recently the policy of the private company OASIS Education, funded by the tax payer and operating in Greater Manchester, was to only teach students about human sexual diversity in connection with fatal diseases.
Writing in his foreword enthusiastically welcoming the report Cllr Paul Murphy, Chairman of Greater Manchester Police Authority (GMPA), remarks: “GMPA is committed to working with the police, local authorities and our partners, including the education sector, together with communities across Greater Manchester to tackle hate crime, which is why we welcome reports like this. The findings from the Greater Manchester Schools – Prevalence of Homophobia Survey will help us to strengthen our approach and build on our partnership working so that together we can tackle these issues head on.”
Introducing the report Sue Sanders National Co-Chair of SchoolsOUT says that the report is ‘shining a much needed light into the murky world’ of homophobic abuse and hate crime in schools.’ She highlights the imbalance in English education and calls for schools to ‘put centre stage child safety, the joy of learning, the creation of the rounded individual and not a system in which exam cramming dominates the curriculum and academic year. The politicians have a lot to answer for.’ Ms Sanders celebrates the overwhelming demand of Manchester teachers in the report who for training and practical resources to address the issue. With reference to the need for ready solutions Ms Sanders points to the success of the government sponsored online ‘Classroom’ containing lessons for all age groups and subjects with positive LGBT images (www.the-classroom.org.uk).
In his afterword to the Report Professor Ian Rivers of Brunel University, an expert on the long-term effect of child abuse and advisor to the UK and USA government is ‘heartened by the fact that the NUT in Greater Manchester has taken steps to monitor this issue among its members and remind us of the need for continued vigilance and intervention. In the past, many headteachers and teachers have felt that acknowledging the existence of bullying in schools was an index of failure, it is not. It is only through acknowledging the issue and addressing it face-on that we can hope to make schools safe places to learn for all young people.’
Launch Details: The launch will take place at 7pm on Thursday August 23rd at the start of the four night run of Pink Triangle’s new piece SHOW ONE, TOO! @ Three Minute Theatre, Ground Floor, Afflecks Place, Oldham St, M1 1JG. The play is a resource that schools can adopt to address the dangers of homophobia faced by students and teachers every school day. Launch night is FREE but booking is essential. The play will also be shown on the 24th, 25th and 26th of August.