Commenting on the passing of motion 22 at the National Education Union’s Annual Conference, which is being held virtually, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“In the last few years, it's become more widely understood how commonly trans workers face discrimination at work and harassment in public spaces.

“It is important that employers and unions work together to understand the barriers and discrimination faced by LGBT+ workers and to help make sure trans workers can do their jobs safely and stay and progress in their chosen careers. Discrimination causes a waste of talent and can contribute to mental health issues and resignations. We've got to assert that homophobic and transphobic discrimination doesn't go unnoticed or unchallenged.

“The NEU has a wide range of existing advice and tools about how schools can support young people who are LGBT+, and support LGBT+ staff, including trans students and staff. There are really good ideas from many schools about how they have included LGBT+ issues in their curriculum and had whole school conversations about positive representations of LGBT+ role models in history and across other subjects. This benefits every student as many will identify as non-binary or LGBT+ as they grow up and have LGBT+ family members and friends. 

“It is well past the time where silence about sexual orientation or trans people should be viewed as healthy or justifiable. Schools and colleges, rightly, have responsibilities under the public sector equality duty. Actively challenging gender stereotypes must lie at the heart of giving young people equal opportunities and aspirations. Schools need much more flexibility and space in the curriculum to be enabled to do this. Girls and boys are all harmed by fixed ideas about men and women and stereotypes about gender, and many more young people are now identifying as non-binary so the new RSHE curriculum will be really important. Gender stereotypes create sexism and transphobia.

“Following this motion, the NEU will evaluate its processes as necessary to ensure that rules for challenging inappropriate conduct are clear and accessible.”