The whole time I was at school and college Section 28 was in place. Section 28 was the prohibition of the promotion of homosexuality.
At no point during infant or primary school was I aware of any positive discussion regarding LGBT+ topics. There were a few instances of negativity surrounding LGBT+ topics which are the memories that have stuck with me over the years.
At secondary school I didn’t know what being gay meant because I hadn’t come across any kinds of LGBT+ education or terminology, either at school or at home. What I did know, however, was that I didn’t like boys. If any kids showed any sign of being LGBT+ they were bullied relentlessly for it. Because of this I ended up having a couple of boyfriends at school, because I didn’t want to be bullied for not having a boyfriend like everyone else.
Our one sex education class during five years of secondary school was based on heterosexual relationships only with no LGBT+ inclusion.
It was only when I went to college that I came to the realisation that I was gay, mostly aided by seeing a lesbian relationship portrayed on the TV. At the time there was an LGBT+ group at college, however I was very newly out to only a few close friends and so didn’t join myself.
If there had been LGBT+ education when I was at school then I would definitely have figured out a lot sooner why it was that I didn’t like boys. It would have helped me realise that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. It would have taught everyone that there is nothing wrong with being LGBT+ from a young age. It would have spared me feeling that I had to have a boyfriend to “fit in” and prevent further bullying. It also would have given me so much more confidence to be myself.
Finding out that my old secondary school now has an LGBT+ group for students gives me hope that students are now being given LGBT+ inclusion education, and that LGBT+ students who go there are getting the support they need at such an important and informative time in their lives.