The LGBT group, LGBT Youth North West in the UK, which serves Manchester, and surrounding areas, has been criticised over the last few days for the idea that they intend to set up a school exclusively for LGBT youth.
According to Amelia Lee, Strategic Director of the charity, this is inaccurate, as they are at pains to point out:
“You may have read some things in the papers or online this week about LGBT Youth North West’s plans for an LGBT school.
Let’s separate the facts from the fiction here:
1. We have received £63,000 Feasibility funding to take on a lease from Manchester City Council to run the LGBT Centre in Manchester on behalf of the LGBT community.
2. This funding includes training, a building refurb consultation, website support and funding for us to ask the LGBT Community what they want from the building.
3. If young LGBT people tell us they want an LGBT Inclusive school we will explore this.
1. No public money or grant income has been spent on a trip to New York.
2. No school plans have been developed currently. We are at very early consultation stages.
3. If we explore setting up an alternative education provision, this provision will be open to all pupils, and we would expect many pupils to not be LGBT.
It will also be in addition to what we currently do now, which is train over 10,000 pupils and teachers in mainstream schools each year, so we can make all mainstream schools safer for all pupils.
We work with some super schools that are really helping remove homophobia, biphobia and transphobia from education and we are proud of all their hard work”.
It is clear from the above, and from the group’s original press release, that the £63,000 is for a feasibility study into the development of the whole centre. The Joyce Layland Centre houses 15 community groups, a vegetarian café, and includes non-LGBT charity groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as LGBT Youth North West.
It should also be pointed out that there is a major difference between an ‘LGBT school’ and an ‘LGBT-inclusive school’, which would be open to all, a fact which many of those who have engaged in criticism appear to have missed.
LGBT Youth North West was established in 2005, with two main aims:
- To have a better support network across LGBT youth groups in the region to be able to more effectively keep lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people on the agenda.
- To give young people the opportunity to come together to engage in regional events and activities such as Pride Youth Games and Peer Educator Training.