Call for more LGBTQ+ issues to be discussed in schools

23-11-21 Natasha Broad and Jessica Steer-ITV News
Natasha Broad (L) and Jess Steer (R) both say they were not exposed to discussions about LGBTQ+ subjects while at school. Credit: ITV News

People across the region who identify as LGBTQ+ say more needs to be done to effectively cover topics of sexuality in school.

It follows new research which suggests many teachers are not comfortable discussing the issue with young people.

Natasha Broad from OTR, a mental health charity for young people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, echoed that sentiment saying it was a subject which "wasn't mentioned at all" when she was in school.

"It just wasn't mentioned, wasn't discussed in terms of lessons, but also just in the wider curriculum," she said.

"I think what's really important for teachers is having that confidence that you don't have to know all the answers, but you can find the answers.

"It's about opening that space for young people to talk about what's going on with them or what they're seeing in the news or media."

For more than two decades, Ofsted guidance has been that LGBT+ topics should be discussed in classrooms.

But a survey done by charity Just Like Us found only one out of three teachers described themselves as completely comfortable talking about the topics.

Meanwhile, one in five teachers said they felt uncomfortable discussing the subject.

President of Exeter University's LGBTQ+ society Jess Steer said there was very little exposure to queer role models when she was at school.

Campaigners say not discussing the issues can leave LGBT+ pupils feeling isolated in the classroom. Credit: ITV News

"I feel like that's something we need to implement in schools," she said.

"Talking about queer figures in that they are queer and they exist because I never really had any LGBTQ+ idols like that growing up."

She also said more needs to be done to offer safe sex education for everyone from "heterosexuality to homosexuality."