Petition calling for ‘LGBT content’ to be pulled from UK curriculum started by Algerian official
A petition started by an Algerian government official calling for ‘LGBT content’ to be struck from the United Kingdom’s curriculum has amassed nearly 200,000 signatures.
The six-month-long petition, which was created on the UK Government and Parliament petition webpage, has urged Westminster to “remove LGBT content from the Relationships Education curriculum”. A counter-petition is now underway.
Its creator – Fares Rahmani – outlined that he believes school children should not learn about LGBTQ+ relationships or identities as part of their wider sex and relationships studies.
“We believe kids shouldn’t learn about this at an early age,” he wrote in the petition’s description.
“I am sure there are many parents who do not want their or other children taught about LGBT in primary school.”
At time of writing, there are more than 185,000 signatures on the petition.
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Data sourced from the webpage shows dozens of signatories are actually from countries outside the United Kingdom – including the Vatican, Egypt and Brazil – despite the webform stating “only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign”.
This has the potential to invalidate the petition altogether.
An opposing petition calling for LGBTQ+ content to not be removed from the UK’s curriculum has now been set up and has gained more than 20,000 signatures in a matter of days.
Both petitions will collect signatures until July.
PinkNews has found Rahmani worked for the Consulate General of Algeria in London until June 2021 and still works for the Algerian government in other capacities.
After launching the petition he shared it with his 2,600 followers on his official community Facebook page, which is labelled as the ‘official page of MP Faris Rahmani, deputy of the community in the fourth district’, but this post now appears to have been removed.
In the deleted post, Rahmani said the petition was an “individual initiative” as a British citizen and “nothing to do with the Algerian government”.
However, his Facebook page directly relates to his work with the Algerian government.
Rahmani said he put the proposal forward to “abolish LGBT lessons from the British curriculum” and described how “children’s innocence and common sense” are threatened by the inclusion of such lessons.
Rahmani called on “every member of society, especially parents, influencers and leaders” to “preserve the unity of the family and the innocence of our children” by signing the petition.
In documents shared with PinkNews, the Department for Education clarified what form LGBT content could take in sex and relationship lessons under the current curriculum.
LGBTQ+ content not compulsory in primary schools
A training resource for teachers called ‘Teaching respectful relationships (primary), respectful relationships including friendships (secondary)’ outlines that “when appropriate to do so” schools should “ensure LGBT-relevant knowledge is included throughout teaching”.
The DoE states in the resource this should not just be in a “one-off session” and should use “inclusive language, considering how individual pupils may relate to particular topics”.
The resource adds: “It is not compulsory for primary schools to cover LGBT content, though they are enabled and encouraged to do so if they consider it age appropriate.
“Secondary schools should cover LGBT content.”
Further to this, the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education statutory guidance states: “Schools should ensure that all of their teaching is sensitive and age-appropriate in approach and content.
“At the point at which schools consider it appropriate to teach their pupils about LGBT, they should ensure that this content is fully integrated into their programmes of study for this area of the curriculum rather than delivered as a standalone unit or lesson.
“Schools are free to determine how they do this, and we expect all pupils to have been taught LGBT content at a timely point as part of this area of the curriculum.”
The original petition has gained traction on social media with several people likening it to Section 28, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools.
One LGBTQ+ activist, Thomas Willett, told PinkNews “It’s a fact of life that LGBTQ+ people exist.
“The call to remove LGBTQ+ content from sex education is fuelled by the same moral panic that conflated LGBTQ+ people with paedophiles during the time of Section 28.
“Now, the same baseless fears have reared their ugly heads again from people trying to erase LGBTQ+ people from society.”
PinkNews has contacted Fares Rahmani for comment.
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