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1 in 10 UK parents “would never” talk about LGBTQ+ topics

According to a recent survey conducted by Just Like Us, the LGBTQ+ young people’s charity, 82 per cent of parents in the UK are in favour of their children learning about LGBTQ+ families at schools. The survey found that 1,001 parents believe that it’s “important” for youngsters to “learn that different types of families exist”.

But as much as 34 per cent of parents said there’s not enough support and resources to educate their children and an overwhelming 67 per cent of UK families lack LGBTQ+ inclusive books at home for their children to read.

The research also found that a third of UK parents have not spoken to their child about what the acronym means, and 10 per cent “never would” talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics with their children.

School Diversity Week

The study comes as thousands of schools across the UK celebrate School Diversity Week. This year, the week-long event coincides with fifty years of Pride. The first official Gay Pride Rally was held in London on 1 July 1972 and saw the support of two thousand people in a carnival parade of protest. The date was chosen as it was the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969 whereby activists campaigned against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan.

Fifty years on, people around the world are uniting to celebrate triumph but also express the continued fight for injustices and inequalities that exist amongst us. Just Like Us established School Diversity Week to promote equality in primary and secondary schools, and provide free educational resources.

The UK-wide celebration not only gives students the opportunity to take part in activities such as Rainbow Friday dress-up day but provides children with the platform to ask questions that they might be apprehensive to ask at home.

According to the study, dads are less likely than mums to have a conversation with their children about the meaning behind the LGBTQ+ acronym. In fact, 38 per cent haven’t spoken to their child about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics compared to 28 per cent of mums.

What’s more, only 23 per cent of parents discussed the abbreviation with their child because a family member or someone in their social circle is LGBTQ+. 

The need for “open conversations at home” about LGBTQ+ topics

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, said it’s “really disappointing” that many youngsters are not having “open conversations at home” about inclusive LGBTQ+ topics.

“We know that parents might be nervous or not know how to start these conversations but we really encourage parents to let their child know they are supportive,” he said.

“We are really relieved to see that the overwhelming majority of parents believe it’s important for their children to learn about diversity, including that families with LGBT+ people and gay parents exist.

“It’s fantastic that so many parents have already had a conversation with their child about what LGBT+ means and this is certainly a sign of progress.”

Arnall added: “Sadly, 10% of British parents say they would never talk to their child about what LGBT+ means, leaving so many young people feeling ashamed, fearful or simply worried about talking about the diversity of the world around them.

“LGBT+ people exist in all walks of life, including in our families, so we would really encourage parents to speak to their young people and let them know they’re supportive.”

Final thought

The findings of this survey remind us why 50 years later, Pride remains centrally important. If parents aren’t willing to speak to young people about what LGBT+ means, it will leave many young people feeling ashamed, only adding to the widening inequalities faced by the members of the LGBT+ community.

The state of these inequalities have been laid bare in the interim findings of the LGBT+ Commission. The report shows the inequity in service provision faced by LGBT+ people, across healthcare, housing and hate crime. The findings of the report will be launched next Monday at our panel event with the Minister for Equalities, Mike Freer, which you can register to join here.

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