LGBTQ+ History Month and the National Curriculum
In the UK, February is LGBTQ+ History Month. It’s a time to celebrate the lives, work and contributions of LGBTQ+ people now and throughout history. As well as a time to reflect on the barriers many LGBTQ+ people still face today. Every year LGBTQ+ History Month has a theme, which always connects to a National Curriculum subject.
This year the theme is Body, Mind, Spirit and is connected to the school subject PSHE. PSHE stands for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education; it is a subject which focuses on preparing young people for life and work. PSHE’s common topics include forming relationships, personal hygiene, alcohol and drugs, bullying, and staying safe online.
If you are a parent, teacher or work with students, this month is a great time to diversify your PSHE conversations.
Why LGBTQ+ History Month and the National Curriculum?
One of the fundamental elements of any history month is education. Education is especially integral to LGBTQ+ History month as the lives and work of many LGBTQ+ people have been erased from mainstream history.
This is why every year, LGBTQ+ History month selects a National Curriculum subject, and theme, to celebrate. Some of the past subjects have included ‘English: Poetry, Prose and Plays’, and ‘Geography: Mapping our world’.
By choosing PSHE as the 2021 subject, LGBTQ+ History month have sparked a conversation throughout February. It has highlighted the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people’s experiences from the essential lessons taught in this subject. PSHE is the subject where family dynamics, health and sexual health, personal and romantic relationships and bullying are discussed. And these topics must include information and support for LGBTQ+ people so that all students understand and respect the multitude of genders and sexualities.
How can parents, teachers, and other education providers support this month?
Here are some ways that teachers and caregivers can support LGBTQ+ History Month, and the National Curriculum theme body, mind and spirit:
- Introduce LGBTQ+ people into your lessons: Even if you aren’t a PSHE teacher, you can still introduce LGBTQ+ education into your lessons by making an effort to include LGBTQ+ people from history and popular culture in your demonstrations and examples.
- Reflect on your language choices: A straightforward way to encourage inclusivity with students is to be mindful of the language you are using, specifically around sex and relationships. You might try to stay away from heteronormative relationship stereotypes, or start a conversation around gender pronouns.
- Ask young people for their opinions on the theme: The best way to learn is to create an environment where students can feel confident enough to ask questions and share their thoughts and feelings. You could ask students what else they would like to see in PSHE. Or what they think the theme Body, Mind and Spirit.
If you are a parent of a student in school or at university, visit our dedicated guide.