An argument over LGBT+ education in Birmingham could pit two oppressed groups against one another.
Some 400 Muslim parents at Parkfield Community School signed a petition calling for it to drop a “No Outsiders in Our School” programme. This involves lessons on diversity as part of relationships and sex education.
Right wingers and liberals have seized on it to present Muslims as “backward” or particularly homophobic. Socialists support more relationships and sex education. And, even if some parents might object, children shouldn’t miss out on it.
Muslim and LGBT+ pupils—and those who identify as both—should feel supported to think and talk about issues that affect their lives.
Unfortunately a PowerPoint presentation by the head teacher linked the No Outsiders programme to “reducing radicalisation” as part of the Islamophobic “Prevent” programme.
The Prevent strategy, which is used against Muslims, should not play any part in relationships and sex education.
This pits LGBT+ and Muslim people against one another and undermines the possibility of open discussion in schools.
Solidarity among oppressed groups is not automatic.
It has to be built through supporting fights against racism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. Only through joint struggle can we seek to overcome homophobia and Islamophobia.