University of Nottingham students are teaching school children about LGBT issues across the Midlands in a bid to tackle homophobia and bullying.
Out in Education is a not-for-profit set up by Lucy Wake in 2013 while she was a student at the University of Nottingham. The organisation goes into primary and secondary schools to deliver workshops, lessons and assemblies about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The project aims to educate and combat homophobia at a young age by discussing stereotypes, cyber-bullying and relationships.
The scheme has now also expanded with a groups also working from Nottingham Trent University and Loughborough University. Lucy said they have had many victories already;
“We have received emails from teachers explaining how pupils feel empowered enough to create a LGBT Network of their own. Some have come out and others are just more tolerant. I’ve also heard from teachers that are now comfortable to come out in their school environment without fear.”
Lucy explains what inspired her to start educating in schools.
According to the Stonewall Teacher’s Report almost 9 out of 10 secondary school teachers and 45% of primary school teachers said they had witnessed homophobic bullying in schools in 2014. Since 2009, there had be a 22% decrease in teachers hearing the word “gay” as a derogatory term, yet more than half of teachers still say that they don’t challenge homophobic language every time they hear it.
Jonny Freeman, an LGBT blogger, emphasised how important educating children on LGBT is; “The world has moved on to the point where it is a fundamental part of education and life”.