New research from Just Like Us has discovered that 82% of UK parents are in favour of their children learning about LGBTQ+ families at schools.
The LGBTQ+ youth charity conducted a survey of 1,001 parents. It revealed that an overwhelming majority believe that it’s “important” for children to “learn that different types of families exist”.
However, 34% of parents said there is not enough support and resources for them to educate their children on LGBTQ+ issues.
The research also found that a third of UK parents have never spoken to their child about what LGBTQ+ means, and 10% “never would” discuss LGBTQ+ topics with their children.
The majority of UK families (67%) admitted they don’t have any LGBTQ+ inclusive books at home for their children to read, although 61% said they would be helpful in aiding conversations with their child about LGBTQ+ topics.
Some parents (19%) said they have had a conversation about what LGBTQ+ means after their child has asked them. Almost half (40%) have done so because they want their children to “be inclusive to all”.
Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, said it’s “really disappointing” that many young people are not having “open conversations at home” about the LGBTQ+ community.
“We know that parents might be nervous or not know how to start these conversations but we really encourage parents to let their child know they are supportive,” he said.
“We are really relieved to see that the overwhelming majority of parents believe it’s important for their children to learn about diversity, including that families with LGBT+ people and gay parents exist.
“It’s fantastic that so many parents have already had a conversation with their child about what LGBT+ means and this is certainly a sign of progress.”
Arnall added: “Sadly, 10% of British parents say they would never talk to their child about what LGBT+ means, leaving so many young people feeling ashamed, fearful or simply worried about talking about the diversity of the world around them.
“LGBT+ people exist in all walks of life, including in our families, so we would really encourage parents to speak to their young people and let them know they’re supportive.”
Nicola Collins, a teacher at St Stephen’s C of E Primary School in London, said 82% of parents supporting lessons surrounding LGBTQ+ families is “reflective of the changing attitudes and increased understanding of what is being taught” in schools.
“As a teacher, it feels reassuring that so many parents are supportive of LGBTQ+ inclusive education and that parents are asking for support from schools when talking to their children,” she explained.
“I believe it is fundamentally important that children, from the earliest age, are taught that every family is different and that every family is normal regardless of how it is made up.
“Children have the right to understanding that we are all different and unique and that everyone, including people from the LGBTQ+ community, have the right to be respected and treated with kindness.”
Just Like Us’ research comes as the charity celebrates School Diversity Week, which takes place in thousands of primary and secondary schools across the UK.
During the week-long event, students will have the opportunity to take part in various activities, including LGBTQ+ inclusive geography and science lessons, storytime activities, school talks, and Rainbow Friday dress-up day.
“We’re running School Diversity Week this 20-24 June to ensure more young people learn about the diversity of the world around them and know that being LGBT+ is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Arnall.
For more information on Just Like Us and their incredible work supporting LGBTQ+ youth, visit their website.
You can also discover more about School Diversity Week in the video below.