Today, a school in my local area released a maths question as part of a routine homework exercise, stating the following:
‘If in a town 70% of the men are married to 90% of the women (and each marriage is between one man and one woman, as God intended when he made humans male and female) …’
Obviously this view does not reflect the view of the school as whole, however, there is still a very obvious problem with this being published into a school environment. Not only will this affect any potential LGBT minors reading this question, but also reiterate potentially homophobic rhetoric and beliefs that many people in modern society still hold. Yet what should truly be taking away from this exam question, is not if the school should re-think their proof-reading strategies, but the fact that there is still a long way to go for the LGBT rights movement in the United Kingdom.
On March 29th 2014, same sex marriage was legalised across England, Wales and Scotland. Many people thought that this was a big step forwards for all LGBT citizens across the country, and the defining moment in the fight for equality. Honestly, the fight for same sex marriage, despite being great for the community spirit, was a waste of a large amount of money and resources that could have been spent on much more needed areas of the LGBT rights movement. Currently 25% of the UK’s homeless youth are LGBT, a disproportionately high amount as current statistics show that the percentage of the population that is LGBT only rounds to around 10%. And it gets worse. If you happen to be transgender, homicide rates re at a recorded high, with barely any being reported as hate crimes. Whereas, its only 1 in 20,000 if you are not transgender. These are serious problems facing the LGBT community, that have not disappeared since the legalisation of same sex marriage. People continue to be homophobic and LGBT citizens continue to be discriminated against.
So what can be done? The government needs to work with the LGBT community to decide what are the biggest problems facing LGBT citizens and seek to eradicate them from society. Although incidents like the one which has taken place at this school may seem abhorrent when they take place, at best it will be a mild inconvenience to the community in the long run. The world should not be up in arms over a minor error in a maths question. They should instead turn their attention to issues such as the disproportionately high number of suicides in the LGBT community and spend their resources tackling those problems instead.
No doubt in the coming days the school responsible with issue an apology, and honestly, we should leave it at that. No one’s died, no one’s been grievously injured, so what we should take away from this incident is this: Homophobia has not stopped in the UK and we should not turn our eyes away from the LGBT community. Instead lets focus on issues that truly are affecting this community, because as same-sex marriage shows, when resources are pooled, we can truly make a difference.