Parental Involvement in Teaching: Equality Act

Part of Petition - Closure of Heywood Crown Post Office – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 25th June 2019.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey 3:43 pm, 25th June 2019

I thank my hon. Friend. She has a great deal of experience in this, not least because she lives amongst the community that is being portrayed in such a way.

We must not give in to this kind of organised campaign, which is effectively being organised from the outside. The Equality Act—which was passed in 2010, so has been on the statute book for nine years—actually says that schools have a duty not to discriminate against LGBT people. That includes discrimination against pupils who are LGBT—to be fair, that would probably not be very apparent at primary school level—pupils who are perceived to be LGBT, and pupils with LGBT parents, carers and family members. These are the diverse parents that we have in our communities now, and the children that they send to school, or the potentially LGBT children in school, do not deserve to be treated with anything other than equality and respect. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] All that is meant by the teaching on relationship and sex education is that this diversity needs to be represented. It is not propagandising and it is not trying to “turn people gay”, which I have heard mentioned—I am not sure it is possible to turn people gay; there certainly would be no gay people if you had to be taught about being gay to be gay. [Laughter.] What we are talking about is respect, their rights, their right to be equally welcome in school, not to be bullied or treated as if they are lesser, not to be made to feel that somehow there is something wrong with them, not to feel suicidal, not to be called “faggot” or “lezzer” in school and not to be humiliated. That is what we are talking about when it comes to relationship and sex education—plain, simple decency.