Young people need to be prepared for life in a diverse society. Stonewall's report on Homophobic hate crime shows that over seven in ten victims of hate incidents aged 18 to 24 say that they were committed by a stranger under the age of 25. Moreover Stonewall's report Unseen on Screen found that gay people were presented in a realistic and positive way in just 46 minutes of programming out of 126 hours. Education plays an important part in dispelling stereotypes, myths and prejudices from other family members, friends and the media.
There will also be young people who are gay, or who are friends with or family of gay people. The School Report found that more than half of gay young people are never taught anything about gay issues in their lessons.
School staff should know not to make assumptions and should know how to support lesbian, gay and bisexual young people.
It isn't difficult to talk about gay issues in class and there are many opportunities within the curriculum to do so. It isn't about doing anything special or different but acknowleding that gay people exist, and challenging stereotypes.
FIT, Stonewall's groundbreaking film about friendship, coming out and fitting in is a teaching resource for Key Stages 3 and 4 and makes it very easy to talk about these issues. 'Oh no! Not the gay thing!', a resource for teachers with lesson ideas for seven curriculum areas and a section on frequently asked questions. There are also a number of books you could read with the class or suggest they be made available in the school library.