Adele is a classroom behaviour specialist with a great understanding of issues around EBD, SEMH and SEND and the author of the book Miss, I Don't give a Sh*t.
We Were Attacked
Associate and behaviour specialist Adele Bates on why attacks on the LGBTQ+ community affect us all, wherever they take place, and education's role in stopping them.
Last weekend one of the only community and education spaces for LGBT+ people, the Rainbow Hub, in Sofia, Bulgaria was attacked, and the founder Глория Филипова (Gloria Filipova) was physically assaulted.
There are no Hate Crime Laws to protect LGBT+ people in Bulgaria. The EU laws do not help. and the person responsible for the attack is running for presidency of the country in Bulgaria's elections this month.
I have visited that hub, donated resources. I have friends in Bulgaria who volunteer there. My partner is Bulgarian.
It could have been me,
it could have been her.
I feel lucky, I feel angry and I feel scared.
I know that it wasn't too long ago that such actions were taking place in my country - Britain. In my lifetime, I have seen a huge shift in attitudes, behaviour and acceptance. So much so, that when I happened to fall in love with my woman-shaped person nine years ago for the first time, I knew I would be protected by laws in my country.
I credit much of this work to education - the power of what knowledge, true communication and understanding can do.
The now compulsory element of the DfE's Relationship, Sex and Health Education curriculum to teach LGBT+ experiences is vital.
It can save lives.
This is why I am an educator.
Despite the developments in acceptance of this minority group, events like the one in Sofia are are still happening.
Personally, I experience some form of homo/bi-phobia every day (on a few occasions this has taken me to the police). I am a bisexual white, cis-gendered, femme 'straight passing', able-bodied, educated, English native speaker and it still happens to me. For my friends whose intersectionality puts them in one or more additional minorities, it is worse.
People still ask me why we need Pride (answers on a postcard for the 'answer-that-answers-all-answers' please!)
People assume because we have same-sex marriage in the UK, we don't face any kind of discrimination. They then often ask me to justify myself as it is not their lived experience.
A country within the EU is still so far behind in term of protection laws, when I visit with my partner we have 300 fewer Human Rights than we do when living in the UK (currently).
The BBC and other media outlets can be seen currently as attacking the trans community.
- And so many other reasons...
I think about our pupils.
I think about how this affects them.
I think about how it affects their behaviour.
I think about how this will become barriers to learning for yet another generation.
I feel lucky, angry and scared and I use this for my work:
I know what education can do.
I know how important inclusion and belonging is to learning.
I know how safety and feeling part of a community can affect a child's behaviour in your classroom.
Every child has the right to feel safe. Every minority has the right to count. An education that is inclusive, enlightened and compassionate will ensure society, wherever that society is and whatever stage it is at, will keep moving in the right direction.
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