Last week, hundreds of thousands of pupils and teachers in almost 350 constituencies took part in School Diversity Week 2018, the national celebration of LGBT+ equality in education.
Launched with the support of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, School Diversity Week empowers teachers and pupils to organise events that raise awareness about the impact of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
This national celebration of LGBT+ equality in education falls in the year marking the thirtieth anniversary of Section 28 of the Local Government Act which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.
While the law was repealed in 2003, growing up remains unacceptably tough for LGBT+ young people: 40% contemplate suicide, 50% self-harm and 96% still hear homophobic remarks.
In a special message for the launch of School Diversity Week, the Prime Minister congratulated Just Like Us and the work of the teachers and pupils campaigning for LGBT+ equality in School Diversity Week recognising “we all do better and our whole country is enriched when we are free to be ourselves”.
Theresa May went on to praise the work of “visible role models, who have been there before and know how it feels, can help give a young person the confidence to embrace who they are. And they can encourage everyone in the school to be positive and accepting.”
Just Like Us, the LGBT+ charity for young people, launched School Diversity Week in 2016 with the support of the Department for Education to enable schools across the UK to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Just Like Us Chief Executive, Tim Ramsey, said, “Growing up, I never heard a teacher say anything positive about LGBT issues - it made school a lonely and frightening time.
“This year, thirty years after Section 28 banned homosexuality in the classroom, we want even more schools to join School Diversity Week and take action to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”
Teachers and pupils use Just Like Us’ free toolkit to organise lessons and events that champion LGBT equality and challenge prejudice. This year, almost 60,000 pupils and teachers will also be wearing Rainbow Ribbons to show support for LGBT+ members of their communities.
Schools can find more information and sign up for next year’s event by visiting justlikeus.org/sdw