A local gay and lesbian rights advocate is calling on Barbadian educators to be tolerant of students who may be attracted to the same sex, arguing that these pupils should be allowed to express their attractions to each other as freely as their heterosexual counterparts.
Founder of Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals against Discrimination (B-GLAD) Donnya Piggott said she was concerned that much to the detriment of many young people, schools here continued to mirror society’s discrimination against these alternative lifestyles.
While noting that she was in no way promoting premature sex among young people, Piggott argued that gay and lesbian students must be afforded the same opportunity to expressed their teenage romantic desires as heterosexuals do.
“I am not talking about having sex in school because this is wrong. But I am talking about being able to hold hands, having crushes,” explained Piggott, who was contributing to this morning’s Global Shapers’ panel discussion on national issues at the Olympus Theater at Sheraton Mall.
“The school setting is merely a microsystem in our society and because our society as it stands is not very accommodating and inclusive, it is obvious that you would see that kind of attitude manifested in the school system. I do believe that teachers, parents and all who are tasked with guiding young people must be educated about the issues relating to the LGBT [lesbians, gay, bi-sexual and transsexual] community,” she added
The B-GLAD leader contended that intransigence at the highest levels of Government made it difficult for Barbados to be an all-embracing society.
She also charged that there had been concerted efforts to ensure there were no LGBT teachers in the classroom.
“When it comes to these LGBT issues the Government really wants the school system to be as far away from it as possible because of this misconception of LGBT people having some kind of negative impact on young people. The truth is that there are many young LGBT people and we need to embrace them, and society needs to understand that we are not these horrible people that others want to make us out to be,” Piggott insisted.
“There are gatekeepers who are not allowing LGBT people into the school system with the skills to guide young people. These are persons who could make students of similar persuasion comfortable and make the environment comfortable and inclusive as possible. It has a lot to do with policy,” she claimed.