Gender Identity & Education

Director: Stephen Guest, Production: Stephen Guest, UK, 2019, 30’, Rights: World

A documentary exploring hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community. Over recent years progress has been made to increase visibility for LGBTQ+ people, unfortunately, reports from rainbow organisations show an increase in hate crime against the rainbow community. For trans people, these findings have been particularly alarming. Stephen Guest speaks to LGBTQ+ people, organisations and charities to find out what gender identity and sexual identity means for them and how education can be a more successful approach in tackling hate crime.

Gender Identity and Education is a film about the importance of inclusive education to represent the LGBTQ+ community in order to help people understand LGBTQ+ lives. It is believed by lots of people around the world that if all schools were to adopt an inclusive policy it would help change some of the negative attitudes towards the rainbow community which would lead to people understanding what it’s like to be LGBTQ+.

We’ve come a long way as a society in the 30 years since ‘Section 28’ – this was the legislation that prevented the discussion of same-sex relationships in schools and led to the founding of LGBT rights campaign group Stonewall.
If the recent protests have shown anything it is that school leaders need to be supported much more loudly if we are to champion the equality of humanity – and reduce some of the divisions in society
The film starts in Brighton, the UK’s Rainbow capital. A diverse city that attracts LGBTQ+ people from all over the globe. The people who feature in this film are from the Transgender and non-binary/non-conforming community who originate from different parts of the UK and Ireland. They also vary in age, religious beliefs, and social backgrounds. They all share similar and individual issues on what their journey has been like since they first realised, they were trans/non-binary. They each share their coming out stories and stories of struggles and hurdles but also share how positive their lives have been since coming out and give advice to people who may be on a similar journey.
A very touching moment in this film is where one of the contributors invites his parents to have a conversation from their point of view. They share their experience on what it’s like to have a transgender child and talk about some of the difficulties they have faced and how they came to terms with their child’s identity. It’s an inspirational moment for the LGBTQ+ community who have shared similar hurdles when facing the realisation that at some point you are going to have to tell your friends and family.
The film finishes with Stephen Guest going into a local school in Portsmouth. This school, although very traditional in some aspects, has an outstanding inclusive policy on their curriculum and LGBTQ+ visibility and equality is a core value for Portsmouth Grammar School. There are a group of teachers and staff members who are focused on making sure that all LGBTQ+ pupils and parents are included and represented in a positive way and they teach all pupils the importance of equality within humanity. Jo Morgan, head of pupil welfare explains “this type of education has far greater reaches! It teaches children about the type of kindness they should have towards ALL people, especially those from marginalised groups”