The Role of Education in LGBT Issues

There is debate on whether we should include LGBT rights should now be taught in schools. Will the future society be more tolerant and understanding of the struggles of the LGBT if they learned about them from school? Is there going to be less violence and discrimination against the LGBT community if we understand where they are coming from? Could education stop what happened in an Orlando shooting back in 2016? In Orlando, 49 people were targeted because of how they identify or who they love. Should people die because they don’t conform to what society sees as normal?

How do people respond to education? You can still remember those long-lost beginner piano lessons, can’t you? You can still vividly recall how your piano instructor corrected your mistakes. Education is a powerful tool to help people understand, remember, and gain compassion about certain issues and causes. It doesn’t take a genius to know that society needs to turn to education to better understand what the LGBT community is fighting for.

It’s simple. It’s about human rights. You do remember that back in school, your teachers said that human rights is universal? If there’s one thing that people from all over the world share, it is human rights–the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to work and education. Everyone is entitled to these rights. There is no ifs or buts. People from all walks of life–regardless of how they identify–have the right to live and express themselves. That is guaranteed in the United States constitution and in almost all countries that practice democracy.

So why are LGBT rights still an issue in the 21st century? Why are people still being persecuted because of who they choose to love and how they identify?

How Education Can Make a Difference

The GLAAD or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation was founded in 1985 to fight against the homophobic coverage of the media about AIDS. Since then, it has lobbied for inclusion and LGBT rights. It also advocates for acceptance. It is also one of the organizations pushing for the inclusion of LGBT rights in the schools’ curriculum. A report from the organization said that increased knowledge about the LGBT people reduces anti-LGBT discrimination. People experience less discomfort when they have knowledge about this community.

Lessons about the LGBT community is not meant to encourage students to be gays, bisexuals, and lesbians. It intends to foster understanding of the differences that make people unique. It promotes tolerance for people who differ in race, sexuality, and religion. LGBT lessons will not confuse students about their own identities. What it hopes to teach are acceptance and respect.

Teachers can make students watch movies and documentaries about the LGBT community. They can also ask their students to reach out to someone who is gay, lesbian, or transgender. The teachers can invite someone from the LGBT community to discuss the critical issues that hound society in regard to LGBT acceptance.

Acceptance Can Benefit Students, Too

One’s ability to interact with people from different backgrounds is also an integral skill. Employers are now looking for people who can connect to an increasingly diverse population. Companies are becoming more inclusive. With this comes the requirement for their employees to exercise the same level of acceptance. The knowledge that students gain from their schools regarding LGBT rights can further their careers. It will also make them more productive members of a team.

LGBT children are less likely to be discriminated against when their rights are being taught in school. This will allow them a more normal life and experience. Children of LGBT parents are also more likely to be discriminated against if their peers understand that their families are just the same. While it may look different from the outside, these children are as loved and cared for by their LGBT parents as someone who comes from a conventional family.

pride march
Image by rihaij from Pixabay

Anti-LGBT People Suffer the Consequences

In a community school in Birmingham in the UK, the LGBT classes got suspended because conservative parents fear the classes were telling their kids it’s okay to be gays and lesbians. But it is okay to be gay and lesbian. That’s essentially what these classes are for. They tell these kids to be accepting of people regardless of how they identify. That includes themselves, too. Who’s to tell that none of these kids will want to identify differently from their biological gender in the future? Who can predict how they will react the moment they feel they are attracted to the same sex?

These kids are going to suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions because they are living in a liberal country. LGBT rights are protected in the United Kingdom and in many parts of the world, too. If their kids don’t understand these rights, then they are going to grow up thinking they are better than those who don’t conform to their idea of normal. And in a world increasingly cognizant of LGBT rights, that will put them in hot water.

It is high time that people educated themselves about LGBT rights. There are many notable LGBT people and supporters who have a powerful voice in society. Any one of them can lead the charge toward this society becoming a more inclusive and accepting one.