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2019 National LGBT+ Conference
20 September 2019

Conference welcomes the introduction of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Plus (LGBT+) inclusive relationship education in primary schools and relationship and sex education (RSE) in secondary schools, which forms part of the Department for Education’s statutory guidance. Conference notes these guidelines cover disabled pupils in mainstream schools, Additionally Resourced Provision (ARPs) and extend to special schools.

Conference is concerned by the targeted protests at some schools by religious and right-wing campaigners who oppose LGBT+ inclusive education. In the summer term, action escalated to regular large protests outside the gates of one school which was a focal point in the media, but challenges to schools in various areas about LGBT+ inclusive education have been growing for some time.

Much of the media coverage focussed only on opposition from some people in the Muslim community, although the same opposition has also been voiced by some people in Christian, Jewish, and other faith communities as well as by people not belonging to a faith community.

Further concerns arise as a number of fringe groups are organising as a coalition. These include “Stop RSE?, “Parent Power?, “The Values Foundation? and “The School Gate Campaign? who challenge policies and teaching at hundreds of schools and attempt to increase tensions by using misinformation. Some of these groups include anti-trans activists.

Conference firmly believes that all public services, including education, must be inclusive of LGBT+ people. It welcomes the “No Outsiders? programme which addresses inclusion of people in all equality strands, “Time for Inclusive Education? in Scotland and Barnardo’s Positive Identities Service, which are examples of best practice in inclusive education.

Conference is disappointed that a small number of Labour Party members have been less than supportive, including Roger Godsiff member of parliament (MP) who increased the level of pressure on one school by telling demonstrators he backed them, saying they are right. It is essential that Labour politicians in particular stand up for LGBT+ inclusive education in line with Labour Party policy. Conference therefore welcomes the introduction of LGBT+ Labour’s LGBT Inclusive Education Toolkit for Councillors.

Conference is committed to leading and supporting members to respond to right-wing attacks. We are committed to building solidarity and unity against prejudice, discrimination and division and are united in the fight against racism, Islamophobia, fascism and austerity.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council working with the National LGBT+ Committee to:

1) Raise awareness of the importance of LGBT+ inclusive RSE

2) Encourage branches and regions to respond in line with UNISON policy where there is public opposition over LGBT+ inclusive education, including providing support and guidance for members directly impacted by demonstrations

3)Work with appropriate organisations including the Trades Union Congress to campaign for and promote LGBT+ inclusive education;

4)Continue supporting appropriate anti-racist and anti-fascist trade union campaigns and organisations to build a united fight against LGBT+ phobia, Islamophobia and racism.