Words: Steve Brown
An openly gay Labour MP has said conservative parents protesting against LGBTQ inclusive school lessons in primary schools ‘should know better’.
MP Wes Streeting – who is a former Stonewall campaigner – joined a discussion on BBC’s Newsnight this week where he discussed the impact of parents protesting against LGBTQ-inclusive lessons in primary schools.
Earlier this year, mainly Muslims parents in Birmingham pulled their children out of school after discovering that the school held inclusive lessons where they discussed LGBTQ issues.
Now Streeting hit back at these parents claiming those who know what it’s like to suffer prejudice should “stand alongside each other”.
He said: “Those of us who are on the receiving end of prejudice know better than anyone what that feels like, and we have a responsibility in the current climate to stand alongside each other.
“I’ve got some bad news for the parents holding up placards saying, ‘We are not homophobic.’
“I'm an openly gay parliamentarian in the gayest parliament in the world, I’m an Anglican & my church’s teaching on sexuality is at odds with my own experience"
On the debate around relationships & sex education, Wes Streeting says "it’s about respect & understanding" #newsnight pic.twitter.com/Yt14t3W4n8— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) May 15, 2019
“You’re standing alongside people making those statements, talking about proselytising to children, the homosexual agenda, promiscuity.
“If you are a perpetrator of that language, if you are a bystander to that language, I’m afraid you’re homophobic. And my message to them is: You should know better.”
As an Anglican Christian, Streeting admitted that his church and his sexuality are at odds with each other but said it’s about ‘respect and understanding’.
He continued: “Changing laws is only part of the challenge, it’s about changing hearts and minds.
“I am at the intersection of this. I’m an openly gay parliamentarian in the gayest parliament in the world, I’m an Anglican and my church’s teaching on sexuality is at odds with my own experience.
“I believe in religious freedom but it’s about respect and understanding.
“We can work through this; we are moving in the right direction.
“For those things on the school gates, our country is a far more inclusive and respectful place than it was 20 years ago and long may it continue.
“We’ve got to defend and extend that state of affairs.”