Review by Penny Rabiger

Director of engagement, Lyfta Education

29 Jan 2022, 5:00


Penny’s podcasts, 24 January 2022

Haringey Vanguard BME LGBTQ+ history project


There has been a consistent lack of interest in uncovering certain histories. This applies to LGBTQ+ people’s histories, which have been wilfully clouded in obscurity by illegality and taboo ̶ and even more so for people of colour. Yet LGBTQ+ people of colour have made important contributions to Britain. From fighting for women’s rights to fighting the World Wars, and from science and technology to the arts. 

Where documentation exists, it is often sidelined in archive collections and not readily accessible. Haringey Vanguard aims to reverse that. All of the episodes are lovely, but the one I have chosen is particularly so. Here, Cat Lewis-Shand talks about her experiences as a dual heritage, lesbian woman growing up in an adoptive white family, her experience of schooling and how she gradually came to embrace her identity.

How many like her are in our classrooms today, and how different is their experience?

London’s revolutionary kiss-in


This podcast is part of the BBC World Service Outlook series and documents Ted Brown’s moving account of his time as a Black LGBT rights pioneer who helped organise the UK’s first Gay Pride march in 1972. The march featured a mass ‘kiss-in’ that, at the time, would have been considered gross indecency, and illegal.

So, too, had been Brown’s homosexuality, and the only person he came out to was his mother. She cried and told him he’d have to battle not just racism but homophobia too, both of which were rife. It’s a poignant slice of historical testimony that shows how Brown found hope in Britain’s Gay Liberation Front and became a key figure in fighting bigotry in the UK.

Heinemann podcast


This podcast series describes itself as “for teachers, by teachers” and is linked to the US publishing house, Heinemann. Recorded on America’s National Coming Out Day in October, this episode hears from two teachers discussing how educators can make their classrooms a safer place for LGBTQ+ students and why it is important for LGBTQ+ teachers and students to see schools as safe places. 

The pair draw on their own experiences of interacting with students, colleagues and the wider school community and explore how, at times, leaning into the discomfort is a necessary part of making it easier on everyone.

Such Stuff podcast


This podcast series from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre covers a range of educational topics connected to programming, gender, race, social justice and their relationship to Shakespeare, and more. In this episode, drama teacher Lucy catches up with eight former students to find out more about their experiences of being LGBTQ+ in school, how important drama was in giving them a safe space to explore, and why role models like her matter.

They also discuss why inclusive curriculums and proper LGBTQ+ education and celebration are so important in those formative years. Lucy later chats to Dr Elly Barnes about the work her charity Educate & Celebrate is doing in schools. Lucy and Elly have both been working in educational spaces as educators, teachers, activists and champions of LGBTQ+ rights for years, and together they reflect on how far we’ve come and how far there is still to go.

Un-erasing LGBTQ History and Identities podcast


In this podcast series, teachers and school leaders share their experiences of creating LGBTQ-inclusive learning spaces and offer real-world insights and practical strategies for use in classrooms.

The 11-minute episode I have chosen brings in American education policy expert Dr Steven LaBounty-McNair, who shares his expertise on the everyday opportunities teachers have to create and sustain more inclusive environments for all.

Making our schools truly LGBTQ-inclusive takes time, and it requires systemic change. But creating LGBTQ-inclusive learning environments doesn’t always require major policy shifts, especially not before there have been shifts in awareness, consciousness and behaviour by staff and students themselves.

With understanding comes change. So here’s hoping these podcasts and February’s LGBTQ+ History Month bring yet more change for the better.

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