The Pink List opens doors and minds

Elly Barnes, who topped last year's list, is on this year's panel of judges

Share
Related Topics

Being awarded the No 1 spot on last year's Pink List was a massive shock and overwhelming on every level. It not only gave me the confidence I needed to take the Educate and Celebrate initiative forward nationally; it was also the wake-up call to move to be a full-time LGBT advocate. I will be for ever thankful to all who voted and to the judges.

The phone call in 2011 from The Independent on Sunday said that I was on the list and asked for a photo and a few words. It wasn't until the next day that another call told me I was top of The Pink List, and to expect a car to take me to the BBC, as I would be on the news. What a breath of fresh air that was, a chance to promote LGBT inclusivity in schools and get the word "lesbian" in as many times as possible.

I had no concept of how my work was reaching and affecting so many people. To have this recognised nationally was an eye-opener and took me a long time to digest. I've had the opportunity to write articles, be interviewed in newspapers and magazines and speak at numerous events. I am now an LGBT schools adviser in London and Birmingham and freelance with my teacher training course on how to make your school LGBT friendly. I advise and support leadership teams, train teachers, co-ordinate conferences, showcase students' LGBT work from the entire curriculum at all key stages and continue to campaign for LGBT equality.

The key points to creating an enlightened environment are to eradicate homophobic language by setting sanctions; to give students facts about LGBT people and definitions of the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; and to implement an inclusive LGBT curriculum in all subject areas to make LGBT people visible – just as The Pink List does.

These things can happen only if we empower our teachers through statutory training. We can instil confidence by providing the legal back-up to support an inclusive curriculum. One teacher alone cannot do this; it has to be a whole-school approach. When students know that staff will follow up incidents, they are empowered to report bullying.

Creating an LGBT-friendly environment comes down to what we are teaching our young people in classrooms. If we are not being inclusive then we are not representing all of our learners. Therefore, to make a range of diverse people visible in the curriculum is an effective and successful strategy that counteracts bullying. Examples of projects are: Alan Turing in maths/ICT; James Baldwin in humanities, Frida Kahlo and Grayson Perry in art; Carol Ann Duffy in English. LGBT people can be black, white, disabled, have religious beliefs, are from different cultures, are queer and intersex. I am incredibly proud to be one of the eclectic mix of judges this year. My aim is to see this level of diversity reflected in our future Pink Lists, to signify our true LGBT community. This year, powerful and mighty Nicola Adams, a true role model in every sense, tops the list. What a woman!

The years of developing resources, working with numerous agencies to find the most effective ways to eradicate homophobia have been worth every second to know that we are saving young people's lives and creating cohesive and safe communities. The high profile of The Pink List has increased my ability to make positive changes in education in the two biggest cities in the UK and beyond: a direct result of being voted No 1!

For more information about Educate and Celebrate courses go to: www.schools-out.org.uk/training.htm. For inclusive LGBT lesson plans and resources visit: the-classroom.org.uk/

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: moderate, iconic royals are a shoe-in for a pedantic kicking

Guy Keleny
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: Cameron is running scared from the “empty chair”

Oliver Wright
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us