Powerful new book aims to prevent children from learning about anti-LGBT + prejudices by giving them the gift of education.
The book – titled What does LGBT + mean? – A guide for young people (and adults) – is edited by Pop’n’Olly, a Resource for kids.
The title, which aims to old primary school children, is billed as an “introductory guide” designed to help children explore “identity, gender, love, sexual orientation, privilege, pride, discrimination, covenant and more “.
The 40-page educational guide has been specially designed for respond to teachers who might feel nervous about tackling LGBT + identities among schoolchildren.
But the book’s authors also have a bigger goal: They want to prevent children from learning anti-LGBT + attitudes by providing them with a meaningful education.
In short, What does LGBT + mean seeks to bring âinclusiveness and inclusionâ to the classroom, explain its authors.
LGBT + inclusive education guide seeks to end ‘in-school’ homophobia among children
Olly Pike, principal of Pop’n’Olly, wrote the book in collaboration with longtime elementary school teacher Mel Lane and her son James Canning.
âThe reason we wrote this book is that there is no such book like this,â Pike said. RoseNews. âWe know that LGBT + bullying is the most common form of bullying in UK schools. We know that LGBT + youth are much more likely to self-harm and even attempt suicide, which is incredibly tragic.
“But the other thing we do know is that prejudices are learned, and I think it’s about breaking down LGBT + prejudices before they start to form.”
Lane, who spent âmany yearsâ teaching elementary school students, became âincreasingly passionate about inclusion and equalityâ before writing the new LGBT + education guide.
âOver the past two years, I have worked with teachers and young people, both primary and secondary, and what I found is that teachers really want to talk about things but they’re often very nervous about using the wrong terminology, explaining things incorrectly, âLane says.
âWith older kids, they feel like it’s something that young people maybe know better than them, that they feel overwhelmed. We really wanted something that caters to the key children in the second stage, so the eight to eleven age group, but that will be useful for teachers to have confidence with them so that they feel able to speak with confidence. and introduce class discussions.
The book – which has been tested in real classrooms – is designed to start conversations about LGBT + identities in schools. It’s also filled with questions about homosexuality to “get the kids talking,” Lane says.
Pike, Lane and Canning were also very keen to ensure that the explanations included in the book were “clear” and “accessible”.
âI really feel like there are lots and lots of volunteer teachers, but there just aren’t the resources available,â Lane says.
âIt goes really well with current government guidelines on sex and relationship education, so schools are starting to think, ‘Oh my God, we need to talk about this.’
âBasically, we give teachers everything they can to enable them to introduce this conversation at a young age. “
Positive LGBT + portrayal at a young age ‘can really make a difference’
Canning, who is only 24, came to the book for “personal reasons.” Growing up during a time when homophobic bullying was rampant in schools, he wants to make sure things are different for the next generation.
âMy motivation was to provide something really positive for LGBT + youth,â he says.
âBecause when I was in school, no one ever said the word ‘gay’ in a positive way. It was never taught in class, it was never mentioned by teachers, so the only time I heard it was when kids said something homophobic in class, in schools. hallways, and the teachers didn’t notice.
âThe image I have in my head is that being gay is a really bad thing, a really negative thing. I only hear it in a negative way, so there must be something really wrong with me. It was really difficult for me for a while.
With this book, Canning wanted to bring positive LGBT + portrayal to children while helping children realize that anti-LGBT + language is not acceptable.
âAt this young age, it can really make a difference,â he says.
Although the book is only written by three people, it was put together with vital contributions from people across the LGBT + spectrum. Pike, Lane and Canning put together sections on intersex and trans identities working with people from those communities to ensure the end result is ‘appropriate for people with lived experiences’.
âWe didn’t have just one point of view because we are very aware that there is great diversity among LGBTQ people,â says Lane.
Pike, Lane and Canning were also aware of the potential for negative reactions to their Teacher’s Guide – an LGBT + inclusive program for elementary school children. sparked protests in Birmingham in 2019, for example.
Despite this, Lane expects the response to be overwhelmingly positive – even if they have a few detractors.
“There have been principals and teachers in my work who have been nervous about this, but the reality is that in fact the vast majority of parents are either supportive or not bothered – they are neutral,” Lane said.
“They’re kind of like, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s part of the school curriculum.’ And we also have parents who say, “Thank you so much for doing that”, because they see themselves represented. It is not uncommon today to discuss with foster children or first year children and ‘They know very well that you can have two moms or two dads because one class member can have two moms or two dads.
âChildren know her better than you think,â she adds.
âI think it’s important to say that we didn’t write the book caring about whether the parents would be stressed about it or not. We wrote the book to create the most useful book possible for teachers and parents.
âWe wrote the book that we thought was the best. “
What does LGBT + mean? Is published by Pop’n’Olly and is available for purchase on their website now. People can also donate a copy of the book to schools by visiting www.lgbteducation.co.uk.