Why Children Need To Learn About LGBT History

With LGBT History Month almost over, we’ve only just realised that we didn’t do a blog post. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing anything in real life since we decided that we’d use this month to do a bit of learning ourselves. In particular, we wanted to know more about our ancestors and the fight they had to give us the freedoms which the LGBTQIA+ community has today, to help us in our fight to make the world a safer place for our community as a whole, especially as 71 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships with 11 of those imposing the death penalty and it doesn’t stop there. In 2022, it’s illegal to be transgender in 15 countries. Those numbers are a stark reminder of how lucky we are in the UK that, at least legally, we can be our authentic selves.

However, it doesn’t end there. Just because it’s legal to be who you are, doesn’t necessarily mean safety. As the community knows, attacks against LGBTQIA+ people are heartbreakingly on the rise again, with homophobic hate crimes tripling and transphobic hate crime quadrupling in the UK since 2015. Those stats are scary, especially being LGBTQIA+ and parents. As a community, we’re still feeling the effects of section 28, despite it being repelled in 2003, and it wasn’t until 2020 that schools in the UK were required to teach pupils about LGBTQ+ relationships and identities.

Children need to be brought up to respect, include and accept. People say that no one is born racist, which is true. It’s also true that no one is born homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic. However, what is heard at home spills out, so it’s vital for parents and carers to teach children to accept and respect others, no matter their differences so that the generations that follow us don’t have to experience the hatred that many LGBTQIA+ people have. Therefore, children need to learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, and there is a wealth of information and resources at parents’ fingertips.

Even though Alice is only 6 months, we’ve started to teach about differences already by using reading time with age-appropriate books. For example, Books like Aaaarrgghh! spider! and Perfectly Norman celebrate differences and teach children to accept each other’s differences no matter what they may be, whilst Super Duper You also challenges gender stereotypes at the same time. When exploring different families, Love Makes a Family is an excellent book to show children that families come in many shapes and forms and that some children have two mums or two dads, one parent or one of each.

Of course, you can also introduce the conversation around difference through play. For example, using they/them pronouns for characters to help children learn about non-binary identities and present different types of families when playing with dolls or character-based games. This will help children learn about inclusion and acceptance and the need to respect all people without even realising it. For older children, many video games are introducing LGBTQIA+ characters into their lineup. There’s also plenty of content out there, from content creators on YouTube to films and documentaries on various streaming platforms. So, as you can see, whatever way you wish to introduce new topics and conversations to your children, there are plenty of resources out there to support your and your child/rens learning. By introducing these conversations, you’re then building the foundation for children to learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, which is essential for children to understand why acceptance and respect for others are so important.

Have you found any good films, videos, books or other resources to help teach your children about acceptance of others? Share them below to help others!

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