by Lis Bundock
Just after midnight on March 29th, 2014, my partner and I waited patiently outside the Brighton Pavilion to see one of the first same-sex marriages celebrated amidst a large and exuberant crowd. That evening, I felt certain that we were witnessing a moment in history where new legislation would signal a positive change for equality and the recognition of LGBT people and their families. I’d felt this kind of hope before, back in 2010 with the Equalities act, but this time I felt that that the impact of new legislation would be even more far reaching.
Despite the weight of this legislative endorsement and the potential for it to impact on communities more widely, there is still work to be done. The green flag waved by UK law should have paved the way for schools to create truly accepting and inclusive spaces, but almost 2 years on and we are still witnessing headlines like this, published in Schools Week, in the last few days:
‘One in three pupils believe it’s not safe to be openly gay, lesbian or bisexual in school’
The headline is drawn from a report by the charity Diversity Role Models and echoes the findings of Stonewall’s 2012 School Report that identified that over half of the LGBT pupils interviewed experience homophobic bullying and almost 99% of those interviewed continue to hear derogatory comments such as ‘poof’ and ‘lezza’. Whilst both reports acknowledge that significant inroads have been made in tackling homophobia within schools and celebrating difference, it is clear that we cannot afford to be complacent. Continue reading