I was going to write a triumphant celebratory piece this week on Same Sex Marriage – and Abortion, at long last being legal in Northern Ireland.
Of course, this an absolutely huge achievement, on both counts, after years of discrimination, so was well worth putting pen to paper for.
But then I actually took some time out to read the recent research by LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop.
Much to my dismay, and as widely reported, the shameful stats found one in four 18- to 24-year-olds thought LGBT+ people were “immoral” or that homosexuality contravened their beliefs, compared to one in five across all age groups.
And that adults under 25 are more likely to believe LGBT+ people are ‘dangerous’ or ‘immoral’ than older age groups
This has absolutely shocked me to the core.
It is not my lived-in experience at all. My nearly mid twenties daughter, sixteen year old son, and their peers seem totally relaxed and accepting of all diversity – not just those of us who are queer.
So I naively believed that most of our young people were generally more relaxed about those that live the LGBT life – even to the point where even labels weren’t even that important anymore
In fact, I often hold our young people as exemplar LGBT Allies as I battle my way through the ‘banter’ of many a middle-aged man at all the Gigs I go to in the heteronormative world.
I was obviously wrong, and so need to get out even more – especially as these stats come as new Home Office figures showed, as widely reported again, a dramatic rise in hate crimes targeting LGBT+ people in England and Wales.
Absolutely disheartening to see this, and so worrying that the tide may be turning against us, after years of falling discrimination.
It has been suggested, that the media have sensationalised the figures, and also stand accused of playing to the gallery of the anti/ trans lobby.
For me, they are still a cause for concern. And that education, in my view, provides a crucial solution.
It is therefore vital that same-sex relationships are part of the wider school curriculum, that must be taught, age appropriately, in all schools.
So I applaud the new curriculum in Wales which will be introduced in primary schools and the first year of secondary in 2022. It will then be rolled out up to 16-year-olds in 2026.
I am also pleased to see that as part of this change, parents are set to lose their right to remove their children from sex and relationship classes under Welsh Government plans.
A step in the right direction but I am ever mindful of the prejudice from some sections of society who oppose this.
Just look at the struggle of teacher of recent Pink News Role Model 2019 winner Andrew Moffat in Birmingham and protests still raging against his LGBT teaching as I type.
My small part in trying to change some young peoples’ hearts and minds, will be through the Stonewall Schools Role Model Programme.
There is a recent renewed focus on this and I hope to start getting back out to talk to schools again very soon.
I’ll be revisiting my old notes though in light of the latest shocking survey and sombre stats. I need to press home to all the pupils that you don’t have to be queer to be a supporter, just human.
And that these latest figures are a stark reminder to us all that the fight against prejudice, intolerance and hate goes on.
So much more still to do.
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs, and writes, about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
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