August 5, 2011
Teacher quits job to set up charity against homophobia
A teacher in London has left her job and plans to take inspirational role models into schools to challenge stereotypes and prejudices against lesbian and gay people.
Suran Dickson was prompted to the action by the death of 15 year old Dominic Crouch who fell from a six-storey building in May 2010 after rumours had circulated about his sexuality. Dickson describes Crouch’s death as the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. She quit her job as school sports co-ordinator in Islington at the end of last term and plans to launch Diversity Role Models in September. She has worked in North London schools for 12 years and has offered informal advice to colleagues during that time about how to deal with homophobic bullying. She has also given talks in schools about her life as a lesbian.
Dickson explained that some of the prejudices she had encountered in her career had shocked her. One boy moved away from her when she said she was a lesbian because he assumed it was contagious and every gay person had AIDS. She adds, “Lots of gay people have told me their lives were hell at school, and if one person had told them it was okay to be gay, it would have made a massive difference.”
So far 50 role models have signed up, not all of whom are gay. The workshops aim to take pressure away from teachers who may not know how to handle homophobia in the classroom. For more information about Diversity Role Models visit their website.
[Via London Evening Standard]
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