Last Thursday, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, we tweeted one of the images from our recent photo shoot.
In it, we’d shown a No Outsiders poster – a small but deliberate demonstration of our support of Andrew Moffat’s programme. We received just one negative tweet in reply – far less, and less offensive too than most gay people still have to endure – so we chose simply to ignore it.
I have some personal experience of the effects of how most PSHE education responds (or doesn’t respond) to LGBT students. My son came out as gay to us six years ago aged 17. Not long out of education himself, he now tells us that the only school lesson he had that related to gay students was a video shown in Y10 by his form tutor who, together with half the class, sat sniggering at the back of the classroom. The sex education he received wasn’t relevant to him and whilst his school would understandably consider itself supportive of all pupils, the truth is it was unwittingly heteronormative serving a traditional, conservative middle-England community.
“It has to start at Primary School,” he tells us now when we ask him how it should change, explaining that so much is implicit and ingrained in the “Mummy Bear, Daddy Bear, Baby Bear” narrative, the lack of challenge of the word “gay” being used as a pejorative term in the playground and the lack of positive role models (Daniel Gray, co-founder of LGBTed, was advised by his headteacher not to come out to the students in the school he teaches in – something he, too, ignored).
When you look at the shocking statistics relating to mental health amongst young gay men, you realise how important and how urgent it is that we do something about it (Kerstyn and Suzi are doing something about it for teenage boys with MeeTwo – click here if you’d like to help them).
We’re not entirely sure what, as a company, we can do to help, let alone how (although we do have some ideas). And we’re a small, relatively young business, not some big multinational. But if you do have any ideas, please let us know and if we make and sell any of them, we promise to donate, not a paltry, tokenistic 10%, but 100% of the profits to an appropriate charity. You won’t see us changing our logo to a rainbow for one month of the year (ours is green as it’s considered one of the most gender-neutral colours). There’ll be no grand gestures or fanfares – simply us quietly doing whatever we can to support the creation of a gentler, more tolerant society for all of us.
And we’d love you to help.