Pride in Education 2005
A brief report on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Gender Conference
Hamilton House, London, Saturday 19th November 2005
Steve Sinnott , as General Secretary, has addressed the conference twice in two years. LGBT members were glad that the GS now attends - this sends out a clear message of support. He talked of the Union's work and how there is still work to be done, especially with the Jamaican teachers' union.
The next speaker, Gavin Baldwin from Middlesex University, talked about using PSHE to combat heterosexism. Amanda Brown, from our Legal and Professional Services department, was an excellent speaker and reminded us all of the reality gap between legal rights and society/cultural norms. John Bangs reminded us that harassment is now defined in a very similar way to racism by the new acts. If the victim feels it is homophobic, it is to be dealt with as homophobia. He also reminded us that in the review of the discrimination laws, schools and public bodies now have a duty to promote sexual orientation equality and that this has to be pro-active not reactive.
We then split into workshop groups. I attended a workshop on challenging homophobia in primary schools, presented by two health workers from Derbyshire. It was an excellent workshop and lots of good discussion ensued. Participants felt strongly that the union should lobby children's authors to include positive images of LGBT characters in their writing.
After lunch Lucy Faulkner of the Football Association talked about the direction that the FA is taking to kick homophobia out of football. It was really interesting to see such a large and 'macho' public body talking and taking such a positive stance.
The final speaker was Dr. Emma Renold of Cardiff University, and she talked of gender and sexual norms in the primary school situation.
There was a panel discussion and a very good celebratory speech at the end by Paul Patrick to send all 80+ delegates out with renewed vigour.
This was an excellent conference and LGBT members wish to see more 'straight' members supporting us in our work and at future conferences.
Apologies to the author of this report that it didn't make it into the last issue of City Teacher as intended. - Ed