From education to employment

5th Pride in Education conference set to combat prejudice and champion LGBTIQA+ inclusion.

Group of students sat and stood around desk

The international Pride in Education conference is back, with the 5th edition seeing its first in-person event accompanying the online stream.

For this event, the conference has over 25 contributors spread over 15 sessions, and offers practical tools to combat prejudice and support an intersectional approach to LGBTIQA+ inclusion within education. Amongst the programme, there will be discussions centering asexuality and people with intersex variations, topics often overlooked even with in the LGBT community.

The programme aims to support anyone working or with an interest in making the education sector more inclusive, from primary to university with a focus on LGBTIQA+ lives and issues.

Why Is Pride in Education important?

The UK is falling behind in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights compared to our European neighbours. This year the UK has seen another fall on the ILGA European Map, dropping 3 places to 14th.

When it comes to education:

  • Nearly half (46%) of LGBT+ Students report not feeling safe at school,
  • Despite this funding for anti-LGBT+ bullying programmes has been cut.
  • LGBT+ students are twice as likely to have been bullied compared to cisgender, heterosexual peers,
  • 68% of LGBT+ young people say they’ve experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings, rising to 89% for Black LGBT+ young people.

Funding cuts across the board mean the education sector is ill equipped to support LGBTIQA+ students within schools, with poor mental health having knock-on detrimental impacts on educational achievement.

As the Pride in Education conference reaches its 5th event, the world sees itself having emerged from a series of lockdowns that have placed further pressure on marginalised communities.

Conference organiser Laila El-Metoui comments:

“Even though Covid-19 infections have seen a significant drop across the world, LGBTIQA+ people have been disproportionality impacted by the pandemic.

“School closures and lockdowns had a negative impact on most of us, but even more so on LGBTIQA+ people trapped in homophobic and transphobic households. It is of the utmost importance that teachers and educators continue to provide inclusive and compassionate education. This conference was put together in June 2020 as an emergency response tool to ensure LGBTIQA+ people continue to be visible and celebrated within education.

“This conference is important because it’s intersectional and practical. Delegates will learn, network, meet organisations who can support them, and be offered free resources and books which they can take away back to their institutions.”

The impact of Pride in Education

Over 5,400 people have attended Pride in Education conferences to date, and of these 1,347 have gone on to make pledges to better support LGBTIQA+ lives in education. Pledges range from working to develop an inclusive culture within their organisation, providing staff with LGBTIQA+ training and increasing the number of inclusive resources available, to working harder to challenge negative attitudes and exclusionary policies.

Previous attendees have gone on to take new learnings back to their schools, and empowered them to make real changes which benefit the lives of LGBTIQA+ students and beyond.

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