Today, I had the honour of delivering a talk on the complex and sensitive topic of “Faith, culture and sexuality within conservative communities” at the National Education Union (NEU) LGBT+ Conference.
Part of our Foundation’s mission is to end religious and cultural homophobia and promoting acceptance for all, I hoped to shed light on the struggles faced by many LGBTQ+ individuals within conservative and faith-based communities.
The conference, organised by the National Education Union, provided a platform for educators to come together and address the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community within schools across the UK. I was delighted that the Naz and Matt Foundation was invited to speak at the event, reflecting our dedication to promoting love and understanding, and breaking down barriers that prevent LGBTQ+ individuals from living authentic lives.
During my talk, I emphasised the importance of understanding the complex relationship between faith, culture, and sexuality. Highlighting the discrimination, isolation, abuse and even violence many LGBTQI+ individuals experience due to their sexual orientation, especially within conservative faith-based communities. I highlighted the fact that many LGBTQ+ individuals are often forced to choose between their faith, family and their identity, a heart-wrenching decision that no one should have to make.
I also explored how shame and honour are used as a powerful tool to manipulate, control and coerce others, and how the concept of fear connects religious homophobia, LGBTQ+ honour based abuse, LGBTQI+ forced marriage and conversion practices (conversion ‘therapy’) together.
I am grateful to the NEU for inviting me to speak at their LGBT+ Conference. I hope that my talk has helped to raise awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people from religious and cultural backgrounds. I also hope that my talk has inspired people to do their part to create a more inclusive and accepting world for all.
For more information on the Naz and Matt Foundation and our ongoing work for schools, visit nazandmattfoundation.org/schools. Together, let’s make a difference.
LGBT+ inclusion guidance for schools and colleges
Guidance on LGBT+ inclusion for members; union reps and officers; heads, senior heads, PHSE and safeguarding leads; school governors/trustees; councillors, local authorities and community leaders. Updated October 2022.
Sexual orientation discrimination
Who is protected from sexual orientation discrimination, and the first steps you should take if you think you have been discriminated against at work.
Who is protected from transgender discrimination, and the first steps you should take if you think you have been discriminated against at work.
Sexual orientation harassment
Who is protected from harassment on grounds of sexual orientation, and the first steps you should take if you think you have been harassed at work.
Who is protected from harassment on grounds of transgender status,and the first steps you should take if you think you have been harassed at work.
A key priority of the union is to make sure all members have a voice in the union, the workplace and broader society; and do not face barriers to promotion, representation or participation.
About the NEU
The National Education Union (NEU) is a trade union in the United Kingdom for school teachers, further education lecturers, education support staff and teaching assistants. It was formed by the amalgamation of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in 2017. With 510,000 members, it is the largest education union in the UK and Europe.
The NEU’s mission is to “improve the lives of all education professionals and to create a high-quality education system that works for everyone”. The union campaigns on a range of issues, including pay, conditions, workload, and the curriculum. It also provides support and advice to its members on a variety of matters, such as employment law, health and safety, and professional development.
The NEU is a member of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). It is also affiliated to the World Federation of Teachers’ Unions (WFTU).
The NEU is governed by a National Executive Council (NEC), which is elected by the union’s members. The NEC is responsible for setting the union’s policies and priorities. The union also has a number of regional and local branches, which provide support and representation to members at a local level.
The NEU is a campaigning union that is committed to improving the lives of all education professionals and to creating a high-quality education system that works for everyone.