A gay MP broke down in the House of Commons arguing in favour of lessons about same-sex relationships.
Angela Eagle told MPs: “We aren’t going to get back into the closet or hide or be ashamed nor are we going to allow a generation of pupils that are now in school to go through what the pupils of the 80s had to go through because this chamber let them down.
“And nor are we going to let this to happen in the name of religion.”
She was responding to fellow Labour MP Roger Godsiff, who has spoken in support of protesters who held weeks of demonstrations outside Anderton Park Primary school in his Birmingham constituency.
They argue that primary school children should not be taught that it is okay to be gay or told some families have same-sex parents.
Mr Godsiff was spoken to by the Labour chief whip earlier this month after video emerged of him telling the mainly Muslim protesters, “you’re right”, but the party resisted calls to suspend the MP.
Following the debate, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Moving contributions by @AngelaEagle and other Labour MPs in Commons on LGBT+ inclusive education.
“Angela is absolutely right. We got rid of the nasty and dangerous section 28 brought in by the Tories. We must not go back to those days. Schools need to support LGBT+ young people.”
The Department for Education has issued its final guidance on RSHE (relationships, sex and health education). From September 2020 relationships education will be compulsory in all primary schools.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said “Our new guidance is clear that children should leave school having learnt about LGBT relationships.
“Children will of course find out about all sorts of things, including the diversity of our society, anyway – the question is where and how is it best to do so – in class, on the internet, or in the playground.
“I would strongly encourage schools to discuss with children in class that there are all sorts of different, strong and loving families, including families with same-sex parents, while they are at primary school.
“There is no reason why teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist cannot be done in a way that respects everyone.”
The headteacher at Anderton Park Primary school welcomed the support but said the government will have to be more specific about exactly what needs to be taught.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson told Sky News: “They need to use the word must. They need to say primary schools must teach that there are different relationships and actually it does say that in the guidance.
“It says that they must know about LGBT families and that marriage is same-sex and opposite sex but then it’s kind of a bit woolly in other areas as well.
“These grey areas are still problematic which is why we still have protests just outside our school and it’s not fair to leave it up to individual headteachers to decide when that timely point is to teach these things.
“It’s possible with the guidelines that actually you could just hand Year 6 a leaflet on their way out on the last day of school and that would suffice, that would meet all the requirements and that’s simply not good enough.”