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LGBT-inclusive lessons: ‘We can’t let protesters win with their bigotry and prejudice’ | UK News

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Birmingham-born Khakan Qureshi is the founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT – Finding A Voice – a social and support group for South Asians who identify as LGBTQI+.

He tells Sky News that the recent debate about whether children should be taught about same-sex relationships in school should inspire us to challenge negative narratives and stereotypes:

As a gay Muslim, I “came out” during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Section 28, and with a high level of religious guilt.

It saddens and frustrates me that, here we are in 2019, facing similar backlash from parents, who surely must know that LGBTQI+ community has gained equal rights and responsibilities, as much as their heterosexual counterparts.

The parents must also be aware of the government initiative to include all aspects of the Equality Act into the national education system.

There is a lot of misinformation being shared about the books or what the teachers are sharing with the young children.

But none of the books or what the teachers are sharing is sexually explicit in detail and there is no mention of sexuality.

I have vocally supported the teachers at Anderton Park Primary School. I have also advocated for Parkfield Community School’s No Outsiders programme and its creator, the school’s assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat.

I have been trolled on social media and questioned about my allegiance to these “LGBT lessons”.

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But when I ask what other alternatives there are for LGBT-inclusive lessons, I am met with silence or very ambiguous answers.

There have been parent and teacher meetings at Parkfield and mediation at Anderton, but where does that leave the concerns of the LGBTQI+ community and people like me?

Either we step away and let the schools appease the majority in the Muslim community, so as not to appear Islamophobic. This would allow the protesters to win with their bigotry and prejudice.

Or we are inspired to beat the LGBTQI+ drum louder and challenge the negative narratives and stereotypes, especially when commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on Friday, 17 May.

It also begs the question: During the month of Ramadan, what makes a “good Muslim”?

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