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Inside the outsider

Hi all,

It's been a hectic few weeks since my last post. So much has happened, so here's a little recap; I handed in my notice for my job as I got a new one! One of my work besties has left for a long trip and I won't be working with them anymore, which is sad but we will remain friends, I got approval for a mortgage and am now on a property hunt and life in general has been going nicely. That being said there are still things that drag me down. The whole debacle around Brexit has my head spinning with all the options and possible outcomes, the trouble going on in Kashmir has me wondering if we will have a war escalating in that region and, most annoyingly of all, there is a debate and protest occurring within the UK where Muslim parents are banning their children from learning about the LGBT community within school. Oh yes, it's 2019 and apparently it's deemed inappropriate for children to learn about LGBT.

There is more to this story than just scandalising an important subject. It started in Parkfield School in Birmingham. The headteacher is a champion for equality education and wanted to start a programme that talked about equality in general, covering topics such as LGBT, gender equality and same sex marriage. The programme was designed to educate children with hopes that they would grow up to be  more tolerant to others. However, parents, mostly Muslim, are protesting saying that these topics should not be taught to children at such a young age as they can confuse them. There have been various reports stating that a child has come home and questioned their sexual orientation or their gender as a result of these lessons. Whilst I find that a bit farfetched that a child has done this, so what if they have? Is it not a good thing that they question to learn more? Is that not how we learn?

From a religious standpoint I can understand why these parents are feeling the way they do. In Islam there is a wide debate about whether or not being LGBT is a sin. For the most part it is seen as a lewd and sinful act and we are constantly told that being LGBT will lead us to Hell. It is a common rhetoric that most religions can also follow, and it is damaging to say the least. What of the children who are LGBT and would benefit the most from these lessons? To be told that they are normal and there is nothing wrong with the way that they feel. I can only imagine how different my outlook would have been if I heard that at a young age, rather than figuring it out after years of anguish and inner turmoil. Parents stating that these children are too young to understand or even think about these issues do not really understand what it is like. I know for a fact that I knew I was 'different' when I was 8. I had this desire to kiss a boy within my class. For no other reason than I was drawn to him, and not towards girls. These feelings continues as I grew and I figured it out. I was gay, and there was no changing that. The problem then lay in how I could be gay and Muslim, and that struggle continues everyday.

I recently found out that my local mosque has signed a petition to stop LGBT education for primary school children within my local area. This angered me so much. What gives them the right to do that? Using religion as an archaic shield towards vital education is simply wrong. Religion and general education should not mix. If you want to teach your children about the religious views towards these subject then do that on your own time. Use this as an opportunity to have a debate with your children. You may learn more by listening to what they have been taught at school. I know I went through this with my own parents, who would read something in the news and ask me about what it meant, or what it means in general. These protests and petitions are damaging to any child that is LGBT, confused and scared. They show that the world is less accepting than what they previously had thought. Whilst we are making strides in having more positive LGBT role models, we still have a way to go if people can start protests and essentially backtrack any progress that we as a community have made. Exclusion of children from this type of education is also damaging to the child as a result of being classed differently to its peers. That has a social implication that parents will not see as they aren't at school with their child. Bullying can occur in many ways, and being seen as different because you did not learn the same lessons can result in said bullying. I remember some children who were excluded from sex education being viewed as 'weird' in my primary school. I did not view them as that as I understood from a religious view that parents did not want their children to learn this topic at that point. Thankfully my parents allowed me to attend these classes, otherwise I too may have been seen to be 'weird.'

My only hope that the future generations will continue to push boundaries, and archaic religious views are less frequent as the generations become better educated and more accepting. I know for a fact that if I ever have children that I would educate them the best I can so that they are well informed about the LGBT community. I wouldn't exclude them from sex education as it is important to learn the facts. I for one think that more inclusive sex education is important. I remember my classes being very heteronormative, and that they did not talk about same sex relationships at all. But then again my views are that of someone within the LGBT community. So I am biased in saying that I would want this for my child. What I truly want is for all parents, regardless of their orientation, to want that for the future generations and their children. Then we will be in a truly accepting and equal world.

A
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