The British Museum hosted a day of presentations and workshops today, to encourage celebrations of LGBT History Month, next February, whose theme will be Education and Young People.
Students from three local schools took part in a field trip with a difference. They had a special tour of the museum’s LGBT exhibits and had a lesson in a rainbow coloured double decker bus on the museum forecourt.
In the afternoon, teachers and youth workers heard about successful celebrations involving young people, in previous years. Teachers also had the opportunity to question some of the speakers in a special session afterwards.
The main prelaunch, in the evening, included speeches from politicians and presentations from other organisations.
Co-chair Tony Fenwick thought the event was the best ever:
‘The whole day was a series of highlights, but my personal favourite was primary teacher John Harold talking about his opera project based on the true story of two gay penguins in a New York zoo who raise a chick. We were all deeply moved by musician Naechanè V Romeo talking about his experience as a trans man. Kate Sicolo’s anti homophobia work in Cornwall shows that every local authority should employ a specialist like her.’
Culture minister Ben Bradshaw2 presented youth activist Ben Hall with the Diana Anti Bullying Award1, in recognition of his outstanding voluntary work. Ben is only 16, but he has accomplished many things in the past 2 years. He is the chair of his local LGBT youth group committee, has run workshops on homophobic bullying at Schools Out conferences and has created workshops with parents to highlight the dangers and signs of online bullying.
Schools Out co-chair Sue Sanders said:
‘Ben is an extraordinary young man. His energy and enthusiasm are an inspiration to us all, and his ICT skills have helped us no end. He’s very mature and a pleasure to work with.’
Ben was delighted by the award and commented:
‘It’s a great feeling, to know you’re helping – in whatever way – to make the world a better place. It’s taught me a lot, and I feel more confident. One of the highlights was when Sir Ian McKellen attended my workshop!’
The event was bizarrely picketed by a small Christian fringe group, who claimed the event was ‘promoting evil’.
Co-chair Sue Sanders said:
‘The protestors are a perfect example of the need for education – about LGBT history, culture and identities, including Christians.
‘The sort of censorship they are demanding leads to ignorance, hatred and even homophobic murder, as we’ve seen in the news recently.’