Accord Coalition help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 20, 2011

Alison Ryan talking about homophobia in faith schools

To help mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia the Accord Coalition took part in a panel debate this week sponsored by the Cutting Edge Consortium on Tuesday (May 17th) exploring issues of religion, sexuality and education at the headquarters of the Trade Union Congress in central London.

The Cutting Edge Consortium brings together religious and non-religious groups, human rights campaigners and trades unions, to work for the elimination of faith-based homophobia or transphobia and institutionalised prejudice towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

Alison Ryan from the Accord Coalition Steering Group spoke at the event, noting research evidence which indicates the higher incidence of homophobia in schools with a religious character compared with other schools and observing that the legal privileging of religious groups and  traditional religious views over the rights and views of others has contributed towards this.

Other speakers included Elly Barnes of Schools Out, who discussed successful programmes of promoting LGBT equality in schools, Sharon Ferguson of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, who spoke about their new online resource which aims to support Christian, Jewish and Muslim gay young people, Martin Pendergast, chair of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, who spoke on sexuality and theology and Jennifer Moses from the NASUWT teachers’ trade union, who talked about the continuing negative legacy of Section 28 upon school leaders.

2 Responses to Accord Coalition help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

  1. George Broadhead on May 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

    This report omits to mention the British Humanist Association’s involvement in the debate

    Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs and a trustee of the Consortium,chaired the debate.

    She criticised the religious lobby, including the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which seeks even wider exceptions from law to allow them to discriminate against employees and service users, including on grounds of sexual orientation, than they already have. She then pointed out how the education system is a focus of discussions on the conflict between religion and sexual orientation rights and issues. She said that the government’s commitment to tackle homophobic bullying in schools was to be welcomed but said that a failure to focus on ‘faith’ schools, the absence of any inspection of Religious Education (RE) in those schools, and not making comprehensive and balanced Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all schools, all contributed to ongoing problems and discrimination for LGBT pupils and teachers.

  2. George Broadhead on May 26, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs and a trustee of the Consortium, kicked off the meeting with the wider context, criticising in particular the religious lobby, including the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which seeks even wider exceptions from law to allow them to discriminate against employees and service users, including on grounds of sexual orientation, than they already have.

    Naomi then discussed how the education system is a focus of discussions on the conflict between religion and sexual orientation rights and issues. She said that the government’s commitment to tackle homophobic bullying in schools was to be welcomed but said that a failure to focus on ‘faith’ schools, the absence of any inspection of Religious Education (RE) in those schools, and not making comprehensive and balanced Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all schools, all contributed to ongoing problems and discrimination for LGBT pupils and teachers.

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