A transphobic Christian said that being LGBT+ “isn’t normal” live on the Victoria Derbyshire show today (2 September), but was quickly put in his place by the other guests.
During a slot on the daytime debate show, parent Nigel Rowe appeared alongside a plethora of LGBT+ people, authors and advocates to discuss LGBT-inclusive education.
After Rowe spoke, LGBT+ children’s book author Olly Pike responded that these texts are about “saving lives.”
In light of the news that anti-LGBT+ groups are planning to resume protests against primary schools that teach inclusive lesson plans, the program recreated an inclusive relationships lesson designed for 9-10 year old.
‘And Tango Makes Three,’ a children’s book by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, has been at the center of a clash between LGBT+ activists, lawmakers, and protesters since its release in 2005.
The book tells the story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who create a family together.
Simon Kidwell, a headteacher at Hartford Manor Primary and Nursery School, did a mock lesson with the group which involved reading the book aloud.
When he asked whether the cover gives any clues as to why it is banned in some countries, Rowe chimed in that it is because it has an “underlying agenda.”
He later dubbed the book as “indoctrinating into the LGBT lifestyles” that “committed Christians” do not align with.
Derbyshire probed Rowe to elaborate about how the book, “indoctrinates” children, which he explained: “It is indoctrinating them to believe it is normal.”
Olly Pike: “What this is about is saving lives.”
A resounding “it is normal” was bellowed from some of the group, as Derbyshire brought Pike into the discussion.
“It is absolutely normal for me, and half this room, probably,” Pike said.
“What this is about is saving lives, we know that LGBT+-related bullying is one of the most common forms of bullying in UK schools.
“We know that one in five LGB students and more than half of trans students have attempted to take their own life.”
‘LGBT+ Education is about saving lives.’ – Thank you for having me @VictoriaLIVE #VictoriaLive #LGBTEducation ?????❤️ pic.twitter.com/5JKSChgCup
— Olly Pike (@ollypike) September 2, 2019
“Because once children are taught about LGBT+ bullying, then the bullying goes down in the school.”
Rowe made headlines in 2017 when he and his wife, Sally Rowe, pulled their children out of a school which allowed a six-year-old to wear a dress.
The choice of the child’s clothes sparked them to pull their children from the school in favour of homeschooling.
Furthermore, Rowe even threatened to take legal action against the school.
Nigel and Sally Rowe were backed by The Christian Legal Centre, a law firm which has defended so-called “gay cure” therapy in the past and supported a number of homophobic and transphobic lawsuits.
Being gay is “not natural,” says one parent
But this was not the only opposition supporters of LGBT+ education faced on the Victoria Derbyshire show.
Another parent, Karen, called being gay, “not natural” and, “not the way of life.
“The way of life is a man and a woman,” she said.
Emma Dalmayne, CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets, then responded by asking how she would feel if her own child came out as LGBT+.
“If I’m being honest, I would want them to hide, yes.”
“You’d want them to have mental health problems due to hiding [their sexuality] because of your religious beliefs?” Dalmayne replied.
I loved the lesson & adored the book.
I will purchase it for my children, though they are already well aware of LGBT people, they socialise with autistic LGBT kids, teens & adults regularly. Many autistics are also non gender conforming & use them/they pronouns. https://t.co/6tVjvWGyk8
— Emma Dalmayne (@EDalmayne) September 2, 2019
“Yes,” before adding it is what, “the Bible says.”
Why is LGBT-inclusive education up for debate?
Earlier this year, a primary school in Birmingham, in the west midlands, became the core of a growing row among Islamic groups, UK lawmakers, and LGBTI activists.
Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock announced its ‘No Outsiders’ pro-LGBTI curriculum, school-leaders quickly encountered backlash from homophobic groups.
Parents, as well as supporters with no children who attend the school, picketed the school gates and pulled their children out of lessons.
Conflict between the school and parents ignited a heated debate over whether LGBT lives, history and relationships should be taught in schools.
The volatile debate was aggravated further when the UK government introduced mandatory LGBT-inclusive guidance on compulsory relationships and sex education in English schools.
LGBT+ people and allies welcomed the news, while opponents continue to protest.
PinkNews reached out to the BBC for comment.