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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Stonewall ignores its own study?

Further to Peter Tatchell’s recent comments – see my earlier blog post – copied below is the press release I issued in my capacity as secretary of the Pink Triangle Trust.

Gay Humanist charity incenced at the exemption for faith schools in the Equality Bill

The gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) fully endorses Peter Tatchell’s criticism of the government’s Equality Bill and is especially incensed at its intention to exempt faith schools from its plan to tackle homophobic prejudice and bullying.

PTT secretary, George Broadhead, commented: “As a gay educational charity, we were delighted that the government plans to compel schools to teach sex education but shocked to learn that it will grant exemption to faith schools and allow them to educate pupils in line with their religious beliefs.

“It seems that a get-out clause for faith schools will permit them to present sex education ‘in line with the context, values and ethos’ of the schools and clearly this will permit them to tell pupils (in line with the teachings in their holy books) that lesbian and gay sexual relationships are morally wrong.

“Homophobic bullying plagues the majority of our schools and shocking levels of bullying are meted out to school pupils and teachers who either are gay or perceived to be gay. That is the conclusion of a wide-ranging study carried by the gay equality organisation Stonewall. The study found that nearly two thirds of lesbian and gay pupils reported instances of homophobic harassment and significantly this figure jumps to 75% for those attending faith schools.

“It is surely unacceptable that a large proportion of our schools should be allowed to tell their pupils that same-sex relationships are wrong with the inevitable consequence that anti-gay bullying will increase.

“It seems that Stonewall is happy to go along with the exemption even though its own study found that homophobic harassment was higher in faith schools.”

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