Socialist Worker

Bigotry makes Birmingham school drop LGBT+ lessons

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2644

LGBT+ Against Islamophobia on a the Pride march in Birmingham in 2017

LGBT+ Against Islamophobia on a the Pride march in Birmingham in 2017 (Pic: LGBT+ Against Islamophobia)


A Birmingham school has suspended lessons on LGBT+ education amid parent protests.

The decision came after many Muslim parents at Parkfield Community School kept up to 600 children home last Friday.

They objected to the “No Outsiders in Our School” programme, which involves lessons on diversity as part of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE).

Unfortunately, the head teacher has linked No Outsiders to “reducing radicalisation” as part of the deeply Islamophobic “Prevent” programme. But this is not what the argument is about.

One parent, Fatima Shah, made clear the nature of the protests. “We have no problem with the school teaching them British values, but this is promoting homosexuality,” she said.

Protests outside the school have been joined by conservative Christian and Jewish figures.

Reinstated 

There should be more RSE in schools and the lessons at Parkfield school should be reinstated.

There are of course children and adults who identify as both LGBT+ and Muslim.

The oppression of one group does not justify individuals expressing bigoted views towards another group.

One side effect of the protest is that some Islamophobes see an opportunity to portray Muslims as particularly homophobic.

Solidarity among the oppressed is not automatic but must be built. That means standing up to all bigotry.


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