For the last few months I have been following the awful protests against the No Outsiders programme, which was created in 2014 by Andrew Moffat, the assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham. I shared my views quite frequently on Twitter, but due to my studying schedule I hadn’t put down how I felt in a blog post, until now.
To bring you up to speed, The No Outsiders programme is an informative programme that aims to teach children about the characteristics protected by the Equality Act. The books include stories about male penguins that raise a chick together and a boy who likes to dress up like a mermaid.
The programme was met by protests from parents at a school in Birmingham arguing that lessons depicting same-sex relationships are not age appropriate.
A few days ago I read an article featuring cristism about the programme by Labour MP Roger Godsiff.
he said LGBT+ people were different because “[children] do not know much about their own sexuality, never mind others.”(Nick Duffy, 2019) – PinkNews
Godsiff added: “I would question the age appropriateness of making children as young as four aware of [LGBT+ people].”
I was shocked and disgusted that in 2019 MPs are still unable to separate sexuality and sex. A persons sexuality does not need to be sexualised to discuss the existence of those that do not identify as cisgendered heterosexuals.
Again I took to Twitter, posing the question in regards to if I was to hide from the Reception class at our son’s school, for fear we may be seen. More to the point, am I no longer suitable to Lead a Beaver colony of 5-8 year olds, as those 5 year olds are quite clearly concerned about whom I go home to each night?
When looking at this comment from this rather ignorant MP, it is easy to see why so many people continue to have such prejudiced views in 2019. Same-Sex families are not new. They have been raising children for many years and some do a great job, some not so great, which is exactly the same as cisgendered heterosexuals raising children. What is important is that a child is loved, is provided for and has a safe and happy home.
What angers me is how so many feel our existence should be denied to children, some of those children, that come from families with Same-Sex parents. My son should be being taught that all families are to be respected, that there are many different homes a child can be raised in and that the best thing to do is show the same amount of respect that you wish to be shown when talking about your family.
Our children deserve to see families like theirs, in books, in cartoons, discussed in RE classes and talked about just as regularly as heterosexual families.
We have always had an open safe space for conversation at home. Our son knows about many different types of families and quite often discusses topics such as non binary people or the transgender community with us. I volunteer for an LGBTQ youth group that allowed me the opportunity to take him to a Trans Family Day event recently, which didn’t shock, upset or confuse him. Because he has always known he can talk to us, we make sure things are visible and not hidden like a dirty secret.
I hope for a future for him that accepts his family as just another family. Not one that has to be wiped from books, for fear it is not age appropriate. Because to him we are just Mummy and Mama. His safety and his biggest fans.