Each year, 17 May marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which aims to raise awareness of the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBT+ community.
The theme for 2022 is Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights.
This date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases in 1990.
Here, some of our LGBT+ network members share their thoughts around the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, including what it means to them personally.
Sue Finch (she/her): “Section 28 had a huge impact on my early career as it made me spend a lot of time and energy thinking it was wrong to be honest about being gay. I was always happy for colleagues I knew well to know who I was, and who I was in a relationship with, but while other members of staff were perfectly comfortable to talk about their day-to-day lives with the children they taught, I didn’t feel comfortable doing this.
"I remember the time a child was leaning on the fence with a group of friends one night as I left school, and I heard her say: “I’m a lesbian, what are you?” which made me realise that my identity was not as concealed as I had perhaps thought!
"It took another five years before I felt comfortable to be openly gay in my work setting with staff and children alike. Now, I am happy to usualise the fact that, in among all the different kinds of families that exist, I have a wife.
"I clearly remember the day I was on Rainbow Flag training with members of staff from my school a few years ago when one of my staff said (about me being gay and out in the workplace), ‘But it’s not a big deal is it?’ I was delighted by this, and I felt myself smiling, but I also felt stopped in my tracks as it HAD been a big deal for so many years. Recognising that it is a ‘big deal’ for those who still find themselves experiencing homophobia, biphobia or transphobia leads me to acknowledge the importance of this international day.”
At NAHT, we are here to support members, both as school leaders and as individuals.
We have an LGBT+ Network, which is open to all members identifying as LGBT+. The network offers a safe space for members to come together to discuss the experiences and issues facing LGBT+ school leaders, both within the profession and NAHT itself. If you would like to join or find out further information you can register here.
We have also developed a number of resources to support members in developing inclusive environments, for both pupils and staff, and have specific advice available on identifying and preventing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, as well as on supporting LGB+ and trans staff. We also work closely with organisations such as Stonewall, Just Like Us and Diversity Role Models.
First published 17 May 2022