Petition to ban ‘LGBT content’ from UK schools crashes, burns and fails at the first hurdle

An image of a hand holding a phone showing a petition to pull LGBT content from schools

A petition which sought to pull LGBTQ+ content from sex and relationships lessons in British schools has failed, after the government confirmed it would not change its stance on the matter. 

The six-month-long petition, which was created on the UK Government and Parliament petition webpage on 12 January, urged Westminster to “remove LGBT content from the Relationships Education curriculum”. 

Its creator – an Algerian government official named 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.”

The petition has amassed nearly 200,000 signatures, with a counter-petition calling for LGBTQ+ content to stay in the curriculum also collecting tens of thousands of signatories

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The Department for Education has now issued responses to both the anti-LGBTQ+ petition and its counter-petition, where it stands firm on its advice to schools. 

In its reply, the DfE clarifies to the public that primary schools are not required to include LGBTQ+ content but can choose to teach it in “an age-appropriate way” if they so wish.

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The department states that Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) is designed to give “pupils the knowledge they need to lead happy, safe, and healthy lives and to foster respect for other people and for difference”.

The Department for Education has ‘no plans’ to change its advice

“The statutory guidance states that all pupils should receive teaching on LGBT content during their school years. 

“Secondary schools should include LGBT content in their teaching. 

“Primary schools are strongly encouraged and enabled, when teaching about different types of family, to include families with same sex parents.

“Through these subjects, children will be taught about the importance of respectful relationships and the different types of loving and healthy relationships that exist. 

“This can be done in a way that respects everyone’s views,” a spokesperson for the department said. 

The government’s description of the curriculum further backs up information shared with PinkNews last week, where the DfE stated that any and all LGBTQ+ related topics should be “sensitive and age-appropriate in approach and content” and not taught as a single-lesson. 

“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. 

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“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,” a government spokesperson told PinkNews last week. 

Alongside issuing a response to Rahmani’s petition, the Department for Education also provided a – albeit shorter – reply to the counter petition. 

The DfE emphasised that RSHE studies are there to “prepare children for life in modern Britain” by ensuring they “understand the world in which they are growing up”. 

The department mirrored its words to the initial petition by stating: “Through these subjects, children will be taught about the importance of respectful relationships and the different types of loving and healthy relationships that exist. This can be done in a way that respects everyone’s views.”

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