This blog provides information and updates for the Inclusion of Children with LGBTQ+ parents research project. Please feel free to look around. If you have any questions, contact details can be found on the research team page.
Project Introduction and Rationale
Over the last 20 years, changes to marriage, reproduction and adoption law have increased both the frequency and visibility of children being raised by LGBT parents. Alongside these changes, policy relating to public services including education has also changed. These changes include the repeal of Section 28, a policy that banned the ‘promotion’ of gay lifestyles within Local Authority controlled organisations including schools, and the introduction of the Equalities Act, which details schools’ and other institutions’ responsibility to prevent discrimination based on a number of protected characteristics including sexual orientation.
The Equalities Act makes explicit that discrimination based on sexuality is not limited to those who identify as LGBT themselves, discrimination can also come from association with or perceived membership of the LGBT community. Consequently, children with LGBT parents are protected by this policy.
This research stems from the belief that despite these official laws and protections, the needs of COLGP (Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents) as a distinct population are under researched. The purpose of this project is to investigate how children with LGBT parents are included in UK schools. A main goal of the research is to speak to children themselves in order to collect their stories, views and opinions. The research seeks to address the following research questions
What are the experiences of children with lesbian or gay parents in UK schools?
- Have they experienced homophobia either directly or indirectly?
- How do children feel included/excluded by their school’s curriculum, pedagogy, and ethos?
What is being done by UK schools to address the needs of children with lesbian or gay parents?
- How are schools approaching sexualities education, particularly within the Sex and Relationships Education curriculum?
- What are the perceptions held by teachers in regard to the needs of children with lesbian and gay parents?
- How do teachers perceive their responsibilities as educators to acknowledge diverse sexualities in the classroom?
The research will take the form of a multi-site case study. Semi-structured interviews with COLGP will be used as the primary data source. Participants will be asked to describe their experiences in school and to give their opinions and perspectives on how they are, and how they could be, included in their school community.
This data will be supplemented with analysis of documents obtained from the child’s school, including but not limited to, inclusion and anti-bullying policies, prospectuses, websites and lesson plans. A questionnaire will also be issued to teachers to address the second research question pertaining to the actions taken and perceptions held by educators.
The research is located within the UK, focussing on three geographical areas: Devon, Brighton and Birmingham.