Thursday, November 20, 2008

LGBT History Month Pre Launch

Copyright © 2008 Mark Weeks

350 people witnessed the Pre Launch of the 5th LGBT history Month last night at the Hackney Free and Parochial Church of England School in Hackney, London. The Month will be taking place in February 2009.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (sponsors of the event), Baroness Morgan of Drefelin, who was the key-note speaker at the event, expressed her wish to see a light shining in the dark corners of classrooms and for the reality of LGBT lives to be fully realised in the curriculum. She also announced that new guidance is being developed for schools on gender and gender identity with the consultation starting soon.

There were also many calls for respect and the celebration of diversity. And as Councillor Faizullah Kahn, another speaker, reminded the audience in his own speech: if, for some reason, you can't be a friend, there is no reason why you should be an enemy.

Young people from Stoke Newington School, the Youth Projects Green Door in Hackney and Out on Thursday in Hammersmith, performed with aplomb, passion and humour and the audience of educationalists, teachers, youth workers and local LGBT activists sat spell-bound and sometimes emotional. They cheered as they recognised that inclusive education can make such a powerful difference.

Education professionals shared their ideas, tips and experience on bringing LGBT lives and history into the classroom. One of the many highlights of the night was a short video presenting the work of the No Outsiders Project, which celebrates LGBT families lives in primary schools around the country.

Copyright © 2008 Mark Weeks

For those who could not attend and still wish to make a difference in their own school, advice and tips are available in the new School Toolkit, which was launched last night and will enable people to find examples of what can be done and how it can be done. The Toolkit also highlights the elements of legislation supporting the introduction of the LGBT elements in the curriculum. The Toolkit is available here, together with other resources for schools.

Sue Sanders, co-chair of Schools LGBT History Month said: "What a momentous night it was. We can only hope that February 2009 will come to life in schools and youth settings up and down the country. The resources are there, the legislation is there to say you need to do it and the skills and enthusiasm is abundant."

"Last night we saw young people from London and heard about projects in Wales, Buckinghamshire and the South West. We know that every school can do the work. They simply need the confidence and skills to do it and last night proved that there is plenty of support available."

The Month will be taking place in February 2009. The LGBT History Month website provides a wide ranch of resources for schools, organisations and individuals to get involved, including a calendar to advertise the events and a forum to share ideas.

More pictures of the event (taken by Mark Weeks) and of the previous pre-launch events can be viewed on our Flickr account here.

No comments: