Families and schools need to educate pupils about gay parents new UK survey reveals

The last 50 years has seen family life in the UK change with the growth in single parents and step-families, accompanied by raised awareness and discussion about what good parenting looks like. The increase of gay parents is part of this next chapter, and a new study has unveiled the need for schools and families to play a greater role educating children about gay parents.2,000 people were surveyed on behalf of Parenting UK about different aspects of gay parents. When it came to the role of schools, over two thirds of respondents said schools should educate pupils about gay parents.

And when it came to teaching gay and lesbian issues in the classroom, over two thirds of respondents said schools should educate pupils about these issues and include them in the curriculum.

The survey also looked at the role of parents educating their children about different family types. Over two thirds of parents said they had, or intended to, talk with their child about different family types, such as gay parents.

The online video channel for parents, ParentChannel.tv (www.parentchannel.tv) has unveiled a new video clip which looks at the experiences of being a gay parent to coincide with the findings of the survey.

When it came to broader issues of tackling homophobia, over 70 percent of respondents said homophobia should be treated in the same way as racism and over two thirds of respondents said schools should do more to prevent homophobic bullying/language at school, for example, using the “so gay” term to describe something that is rubbish.

However, a 2009 YouGov survey for Stonewall of over 2,000 primary and secondary school teachers showed that nine out in ten teachers have not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying and over a third of secondary school teachers and almost two thirds of primary school teachers have not addressed issues of sexual orientation in their lessons.

Jacqueline Harding at ParentChannel.tv said:

‘Gay parents have always existed. However, legal changes including the introduction of civil partnerships, and laws outlawing discrimination in relation to adoption, IVF and surrogacy, mean that many more gay and lesbian couples turn their aspirations to become parents into a reality.

‘The findings indicate that parents think more could be done in the school and at home to educate children about different types of families in today’s society and to tackle homophobic bullying.

The survey indicates that the majority of parents are comfortable talking to their kids about different types of families, like gay parents, but we recognise that some families may not know how to approach the subject and our new video gives advice on this.

‘Parents can talk to their children about the struggles that they see other kids facing. Lessons in caring, kindness, and tolerance are important for all families.

‘Both heterosexual and homosexual parents should strive to teach their children to be tolerant and accepting of other people. Some parents are gay and this needs to be recognised and accepted so we can get on with the job of helping all parents raise their children as well as possible.’

For free advice and practical help on all aspects of parenting, please visit ParentChannel.tv at: www.parentchannel.tv

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