A gay educator in the UK is facing threats and protests from parents for teaching on the topics of LGBTQ rights and acceptance.
Assistant head Andrew Moffat has been teaching a program he launched called “No Outsiders” at Parkfield Community School, in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, England. He was made an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2017, in honor of his work to bring equality and diversity into education, but is now experience vocal criticism, and not for the first time.
“I’ve had some nasty emails, I’ve had some comments on messenger,” Moffat told the BBC, including one that said he “wouldn’t last long.”
The school has also been targeted with protests, with chants and signs calling on the teacher to cease the lessons on not discriminating against LGBTQ people or leave the school.
"It's about community cohesion in the UK today."@moffat_andrew is an assistant headteacher in Birmingham where some parents have protested over a project which includes teaching children about #homosexuality ⬇️#FridayMotivation #race #gender #lgbt #religions pic.twitter.com/aLs5hZS0bk
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) February 8, 2019
The group Alum Rock Community Forum protested on February 7 at the school, with over 100 demonstrating, and has held meeting to discuss the “No Outsiders” program and vocalize their opposition.
Protesters said in a statement they objected to what they said was Moffat “promoting…personal beliefs and convictions about universal acceptability of homosexuality as being normal and morally correct.”
“We have no objection to the promotion of respectful treatment of all people,” it continued.
One mother, who wished to remain nameless, said she felt her daughter was too young to be learning those lessons.
“Everyone is different and we accept it,” she said. “If it was in secondary school then fine, but my daughter is in Year 3. I just don’t agree with it at all.”
The school said in a statement it was “disappointed” by the protests, and that it had no intention of changing its educational efforts in response to them.
Moffat has been teaching the curriculum at Parkfield Community School for four years, having resigned the previous year from another elementary school after parents there also spoke out against their children being taught the value of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
“In my work I have met with some challenging views from different sections of the community,” he told The Independent at the time. “Some Christian and some Muslim parents have told me they don’t want their children learning that it’s OK to be gay.”
Stephen Green, who leads the advocacy group Christian Voice, suggested parents might pull their children out of the school to further voice their upset. He also argued that there is never a right age to teach what he called “propaganda.”
He claimed “No Outsiders” attempts to “normalize homosexuality, so that when the children get older they’re prepared for it, and they’re prepared to be accepting of it. And if they start to think, for any reason at all, that they might be that way inclined, they’ve had these authority figures, these teachers, telling them it’s okay, so they are more accepting of it and more willing, perhaps, to get involved in it.”
Despite the uproar, Moffat reports receiving support from many students and members of the community.
“I was inundated with little posters and cards that children had made at home saying, ’No outsiders. Everyone is welcome,'” he shared with The Independent.
“I have felt very threatened…it’s been a challenging couple of weeks,” he told the BBC. “However, what keeps me going is the support from the school which is absolutely brilliant, the DfE (Department for Education), Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), the city council. There are lots of people recognizing that this work is important and that’s what you have to hold on to.”
Huge thanks to everyone for the support today. Never have I felt so passionately about #nooutsiders as I did today. The protest shows exactly why the ethos is needed and we move forward together with confidence #communitycohesion #dialogue pic.twitter.com/mUSbx1TkNP
— Andrew Moffat (@moffat_andrew) February 7, 2019
According to UK advocacy group Stonewall, in 2017, 40% of LGBTQ students had never been taught about LGBTQ issues in school.