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Schools Out Initiates LGBT History Month


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Schools Out Initiates LGBT History Month

The first LGBT history month - February 2005 - is a way of celebrating all the LGBT people in our history, literature and communities both past and present. The website will be a resource for people to design their events. It will contain lesson plans, assembly ideas, information and links to other sites that have LGBT appropriate information. There will also be a facility to record all ideas for events and log their dates. We see the website as a two way project. It provides a space for other people to contribute ideas, resources, lesson plans etc, as well as Schools Out providing some of the material.

The silence and invisibilising of the LGBT community has been complete in our educational establishments. This has meant that thousands of young people have felt betrayed by the very organisations that should support them. The widespread heterosexism in our schools has meant that our youth - straight and LGBT - have grown up with gross stereotypes of LGBT people which has given rise to the mainstreaming of homophobia. The daily use of the word 'gay' to denote anything that students of all ages from 4-24 dislike or see as dysfunctional, creates a hostile environment for all.

Staff in education in the main, seem to find it hard to obtain the necessary knowledge to tackle the issue and some even deny that this is homophobia! The DfES has given out guidelines and information on how to tackle homophobia (see www.schools-out.org.uk), however due to the lack of publicity, many teachers are unaware of their existence.

LGBT history month, February 2005, is a really important tool for schools, councils, cultural organisations etc to rectify the silence that has hitherto existed regarding the rich heritage of our community. And, as Twigg says, 'We will be encouraging schools to take part.'

Government partners in the project are the DfES who are financing Schools Out to produce the website. The Department for Trade and Industry's Sexual Orientation and Civil Partnership Team who have the led on Sexual Orientation policy across Government, Department of Constitutional Affairs who coordinate policy relating to the Transgender community, as well as other government departments who are providing valuable networking.

Amnesty International are endorsing the month and working with us to highlight the human rights aspect of this area of work. They will be contributing a lesson plan as well as focusing on the need to tackle homophobia seriously.

The reality of homophobia in London has recently come to the fore with the death of David Morley. This is the fourth known homophobic murder this year. The perpetrators and victims of much of the homophobic crime across the country are young people, not long out of the very educational establishments that have neglected their duty to educate about and celebrate the diversity of all our communities including the LGBT communities. LGBT history month will celebrate the diversity of our LGBT communities, black and white, able bodied and disabled, young and old, mothers and fathers, workers and unemployed, religious and atheist.

Sue Sanders & Paul Patrick

www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

Dr Gill Spraggs has come up with a proposal to produce the website - to coordinate the month and encourage people to put on events. The site will have:

• a noticeboard/calendar so that people can log public events so everyone knows what is going on.

• lesson plans for key stages 2 and 3 and ideas for assemblies for the month and other ideas for events.

• links to other websites that have LGBT history and information.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I received this message today and told Tony Fenwick how useful this forum would be as a place to elicit ideas.

Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I am now www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk website manager for my sins!

We need lesson suggestions and assembly ideas for the website. We particularly need primary school lesson suggestions. Please send your ideas to me,

fenwicktony@hotmail.com

Tony Fenwick

Thanks in anticipation!

Tony Fenwick, Schools Out!

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* www.schools-out.org.uk *

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Edited by Derek McMillan
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  • 3 weeks later...

I think that LGBT History month is a great idea and as a teacher in an inner city all boys school I am becoming increasingly worried about a whole range of issues around tackling homophobia and promoting positive attitudes towards different sexualities. I regularly wear an AIDs ribbon and I am horrified that so many students don't even know what it represents. I also have to challenge on a daily basis the same kind of homophobic comments that I am sure we all hear in the playgrounds and sometines in the classroom (and sometimes the staffroom). As someone who has also actively promoted and raised the level of awareness of Black History Month and Holocaust Memorial Day I see this as very much part of the same process. However if I am being totally honest I foresee many more difficulties in promoting LGBT History month, though of course that should not prevent me from starting small and building up gradually. If anyone has any suggestions of a small scale starting point I would be most interested.

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