There has been a lot of debate recently about LGBT, same sex relationships and transgender education in schools. Some parents think the topic should be in the curriculum whereas others think they should be able to opt-out, often because they feel their children are too young for the topic or that it will harm their child in some way.
My experience with my own transition whilst working with children in my own music school has only been a positive one. A lot of this has been because the children have covered the topic at school. While I was transitioning I had many parents telling me when they told their child I was about to transition, their child responded in a very matter of fact way with things such as “Oh yeah, we’ve done that at school” and then just continued with whatever they were doing, showing it really was no ‘biggie’. In fact in many ways the children took things in their stride far easier than the adults did. Not that any of the adults struggled, everyone I have told about my transition has been fully supportive.
My thoughts are schools should be educating their pupils about the world. So for example take religion, whether you believe in, agree with, or disagree with a religion, it is important to know about them. Why? They exist and there are people who live by each religion, and so we will all come across them at some point. When we do it’s far better that we have some degree of understanding.
I feel the exact same with LGBT issues. It doesn’t matter whether you yourself are gay, straight, transgender, or in a same sex relationship, these are all things that exist so we will all, and this includes children, come across LGBT situations. Therefore to be clued up about these topics is a must!
Also, I suffered a lot as a child because I shut up about my gender dysphoria for fear of what others might think. In the late seventies and early eighties there was no internet and it certainly wasn’t a topic taught in schools, so I knew nothing about what was possible. This meant I hid my feelings and so grew up very unhappy, not myself, was held back in many areas of life, and ultimately was prevented from achieving my best as a result.
I think it’s a real shame that it’s often a lack of education and understanding by parents that lead them to believe their own children shouldn’t be educated about LGBT issues either.
Educating children won’t turn them gay or transgender, but it will allow those who are gay or transgender to understand themselves better and this will give them a far better opportunity to be themselves, and to truly achieve the best they can in their life.
It will allow those who aren’t gay or transgender to fully understand, and therefore accept and support those around them who are. This makes for a more positive environment. It allows teams to function better, will enable better productivity at work, and stronger relationships between family, friends and work colleagues.
Allowing people be their true selves can really only be a win, win, win for everyone!