Panelists Pat St Clement, Gloria Hunniford and Stacey Solomon sat down on Wednesday to discuss the story of a primary school in South London that was forced to cancel their planned “Proud to be Me!” parade after some parents complained about children being taught about LGBT+ topics.
St Clement, an actor famous for her role as Pat Butcher in EastEnders who wrote about her affair with a woman while being married to her first husband in her 2015 autobiography, commended the school’s initiative for having “good intensions to encourage inclusivity” but criticised the choice of a march, worrying about how to explain the purpose of the parade. “Certainly not going to give them a sex education, that’s for sure—I’m very old-fashioned about that,” she said.
“Four is too young to be taught about sex. I just want children to be children for a while,” agreed Hunniford. Solomon then intervened to say that the Pride march isn’t necessarily about sex education, but about acceptance and condemning the discrimination of people on the basis of who they love.
Hunniford proceeded to challenge Solomon on the issue of whether four-year-olds are too young to understand what the march is about, apparently unable to conceive of a way to talk about LGBT+ people without referencing to sexual acts. Solomon explained the simple solution to the conundrum: “Years ago people didn’t think it was ok to love who you want to love and I think that’s enough to tell a four-year-old, that we should never be like that again and we should accept people for who they love and who they are,” she said, before agreeing with her fellow panelists that the conversation “shouldn’t be taken further into sex education.”
On Twitter, social media users were stunned to see the debate morphing into a discussion about sex education, with many pointing that the meaning of the Pride celebration is about love and acceptance.
“Doing a pride celebration at a primary isn’t the same thing as sex education lessons, celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, that isn’t going to confuse a four-year-old,” one viewer wrote in response to the debate.
“Once more a straight person is sexualising homosexuality. How is learning about the history of LGBT+ struggles sexual?” one viewer going by the name Steph commented, adding: “Offended doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel listening to this. How dare you equate EQUALITY to a SEX ACT. Gloria educate yourself. Age is not an excuse.”
Many of the messages in relation to that part of the program expressed support for Solomon’s handling of the discussion. “Loving Stacey Solomon’s take on the Pride march within a School. Wasn’t about sex was about inclusivity challenging/remembering oppression,” one viewer commented.
The school ended up holding a more low-key event to celebrate Pride at the end of June, which saw the participation of some parents and Labour MP for Croydon North. “Very proud of them for standing up for equality and diversity,” he wrote in a tweet sharing pictures of the event.
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedMP) June 29, 2018
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