A labour motion supporting the introduction of Government LGBTQ+ relationship sex education into the school curriculum was passed by Hertsmere Borough Council despite 17 Tory councillors trying to kick it into the long grass by abstaining, claiming there wasn’t long enough to debate the issue.
Proposed by Labour’s Cllr Chris Myers, he made an impassioned speech supporting the new moves by saying: “Having been born in the seventies, I started senior school the year that the horrifically homophobic legislation known as Section 28 was introduced. The underlying aim of this legislation was to whitewash my community from the public consciousness.”
The legislation, which prevented the so–called promotion of homosexuality in schools, was repealed after five years but it has taken until now for the damage to be undone.
Continued Chris: “An LGBTQ+ teen has all the same teenage angst, doubts, and anxiety as their straight peers. However, growing up LGBTQ+, creating a façade to protect yourself whilst having nowhere to turn for support was incredibly mentally damaging to LGBTQ+ kids: Many of whom did not have the support network and family that I was lucky enough to have.”
“When section 28 was repealed it meant that teachers could support LGBTQ+ students and step in to stop homophobic bullying and speak openly and inclusively to their classes. Of course, this is incredibly simplistic, and we all know that kids can be cruel. But that is why RSE is of vital importance in education going forward.”
The motion was seconded by Cllr Christian Gray, and the Tories had a free vote, with many predictably using it as another attempt to deny LGBTQ+ equality across the Borough. It was passed with 22 in favour including the Liberal Democrats, with 17 abstentions.
As a result, Hertsmere Borough Council will write to Hertfordshire County Council to ensure that all schools in the Borough follow the Goverment’s new policy.
Last year, the Tories filibustering a motion brought by councillors Christian Gray and Chris Myers that would have given LGBTQ+ people better rights in the Borough and thwarted Labour’s plans to raise a flag to commemorate Hertfordshire Pride.