The Christian Post reports that U.K. charity, LGBT Young North West, is hoping to open a school in Manchester which will cater to the LGBT community. The school will provide 40 permanent spots for gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender students. It is expected to open its doors sometime in the next three years.
LGBT Young North West director, Amelia Lee, hopes an LGBT school can help prevent homophobic bullying, which, in some cases, encourages young people to take their own lives.
“This is about saving lives," Lee says. "Despite the laws that claim to protect gay people from homophobic bullying, the truth is that in schools especially, bullying is still incredibly common and causes young people to feel isolated and alienated, which often leads to truanting and, in the worst-case scenarios, to suicide.”
Critics claim that this kind of segregation will only encourage division amongst the gay and non-gay communities. They argue that integration is important and separating beliefs will only create more intolerance. Tim Loughton, former education minister, is against bullying, but disagrees with Lee. Loughton states, “The way to achieve more integration, understanding and empathy is not by segregating members of one group, and this would seem to me to be a step backwards from achieving tolerance.”
However, even though LGBT Young North West wants the school to cater to the LGBT community, it will also accept non-LGBT students who are also struggling to fit in. According to Lee, the school will be “LGBT-inclusive, but not exclusive.”
It is a well-known fact that bullying among teenagers is a common part of growing up. All teenagers struggle with fitting in. But when bullying and fear of non-acceptance lead to suicide, as it did in the case of 14-year-old Christian teen, Elizabeth Lowe, who hanged herself in a Manchester park in September 2014, maybe it’s time for a change in the system. An LGBT school may provide a safe haven where students can feel protected, accepted, understood and at peace with themselves.
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