“Treat Homophobia Like Racism” Says Deputy-Head Teacher
Already active against homophobia in his own school, deputy-head teacher of a primary school in London, Shaun Dellenty, is now trying to improve the attitude within other schools towards stopping homophobia and homophobic bullying.
Shaun deliberately “came out” to his students in an attempt to provide a real, non-stereotypical role model for any LGBT students in the school, and to “normalise” the issue amongst the young people – something he notes that was lacking when he was their age. He said: “Not having people to aspire to was difficult, so I thought I was cheating kids who are questioning themselves. It’s a great unsaid in primary schools because people don’t like to think about it. People think children are too young to know, but I’m sorry, some aren’t.”
Shaun is now speaking more publicly about homophobia in schools after learning that there is only one openly gay headteacher in the UK. It is no secret that being a teacher makes you vulnerable to sex-related accusation, but gay teachers seem to be particular targets of this cruel victimisation. This tragically results in many talented gay people shying away from a career in education due to fears of homophobia, and many gay teachers avoiding applying for promotion because they are afraid of the increased publicity that it will bring.
Like many of us, Shaun is passionate about reducing this injustice, “I don’t want special treatment for gay teachers, but I do want equal treatment.” In addition to his ‘It Gets Better’ style video below, he is calling on people to recognise homophobia as inexcusable, in the same way that racism is today. He said “Schools are pretty hot on dealing with racism, but I don’t think most head[teacher]s see homophobia as important. The will to tackle homo-phobia is lagging behind.”