Is There a Need for Mandatory ‘LGBT history’ Education Programmes?

Is There a Need for Mandatory ‘LGBT history’ Education Programmes?

LBGT education in school syllabus is a key topic that has gathered both supporters and those who question the need for such a step. Recently in Maharastra, changed 11th-grade syllabus to make students more aware and progressive. To achieve this, 11th standards students will be taught about same-sex couples, live-in relationships, and single parents, as part of their Sociology syllabus.

Similarly, in the United States of America, different states have made it mandatory to include ‘LGBT History’ education programmes within schools. In Aug, Illinois became the 5th state in the country to include this syllabus as part of school learning.

Related Reading: School Syllabus now includes LGBTQ+ history!

Recently, even in the United Kingdoms, Educational Secretary, Gavin Williamson, spoke about LGBT-inclusive education. He pledged that the government will provide support to schools that have an LGBT-inclusive curriculum. He said that,

 The government will be “supporting and backing every single school” as they prepare for the roll-out of a mandatory LGBT-inclusive curriculum.

-As reported by Pink News

In the USA, States have already started making it mandatory to have ‘LGBT-History’. From September 2020, UK too will have primary and secondary school students learning an ‘LGBT-inclusive’ syllabus. Finally, countries across the globe, including India, are taking steps towards education that includes curriculums about the LGBTQ.

Image Courtesy – GCN

While most people praise and support this decision to make school syllabus LGBT-inclusive, there are others who ask if such a step is, in fact, necessary.

Benefits of having such a curriculum are understandable. Syllabus’ that talks about the history, evolution, and concept of LGBT to its students, is a step towards removing the stigma that surrounds the community. It will help in reducing homophobia, and anti-LGBT bullying, to name a few. However, teachers, while supporting the change, feel that student have to take the right message from such education. Otherwise, having an LGBT-inclusive syllabus will bring no benefit, and might cause harm.

In the UK, protests took place outside schools. Protesters were against institutions including LGBT within its curriculum. The demonstration claimed that teaching LGBTQ relationships to students was ‘over-emphasising a gay ethos’. Furthermore, they saw such teachings as not being ‘age-appropriate’. So what will happen when the country finally makes ‘LGBT-curriculum’ mandatory? Schools shouldn’t be attracting protests and threats. Its a place for exploring and learning about society, and diversity. Students learn about their environment and form opinions about the world. So informing them about different communities, and the importance of inclusivity should be encouraged. However, a recent opinion article, written by Christian Watson in the Washington Examiner, explored why mandatory ‘LGBT-history’ programmes might not be beneficial.

Image Courtesy – Asbury Park Press

Watson’s take on Mandatory ‘LGBT-history’ education programmes:

According to Watson, while having LGBT lessons “might sound innocuous enough”, it could prove to be harmful to the community’s freedom. Hence, being a gay man himself, he doesn’t see the benefit of this agenda.

The idea behind such educational programmes is to “push students toward a liberal view on LGBT issues”. While this is a positive outlook and shows the changing attitude among people, it still violates religious freedom from many. Recently, a trans student was expelled from her college for undergoing transition surgery. The college was religious. Another school didn’t include a student’s photograph in their yearbook since she chose to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress for the photo.

According to Watson,

“There is no better way to make an entire group of people more bitter toward LGBT people than stomping on their beliefs and parental rights in the name of furthering your agenda.”

He also states that this programme might undermine the efforts of individuals who have worked towards furthering the community “by placing sexuality at the forefront of historical education”. Efforts need to be made to organically change society and culture, without using government-mandated programmes.

“Identities don’t achieve things, people do, and that’s far more interesting than who they are attracted to.”

Is there a necessity for the programme?

Watson states that even without the application of these programmes, some states have become more LGBT-friendly in the USA. People pave the best road for bringing a positive change in culture. Then why should such classes be mandatory or necessary? And, if the education system wants to have this as part of their syllabus then why can’t the class at least be an elective for students?

“Students genuinely interested in hearing praise of the LGBT lifestyle would flock to it, while others could politely decline. That would leave those parents with religious convictions happy and keep some measure of liberty intact.”

On the one hand, inclusive-education can make the next generation more accepting and inclusive of the different communities. However, on the other hand, it could prove to be of no benefit or even harmful to the LGBT community. And, that would only bring set-back to progress made by the them.

While government efforts to make a country more inclusive is commendable and important, does it actually mean that the society has accepted the change?


Source Credit: Metro News, Pink News, Washington Examiner

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