PUPILS at a Denton high school received the mayoral seal of approval for the work they are doing to raise awareness of the LGBT community.Denton Community College’s Pride group has been making sure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not ignored or bullied.
And Civic Mayor of Tameside Leigh Drennan spoke of his praise for the efforts pupil members are making.
They will also soon have a lasting legacy at the Taylor Lane establishment as a new LGBTQ+ badge, based on Denton Community College’s logo, is set to be unveiled in the run-up to Christmas after a vote was taken on which design to go for.
Cllr Drennan also had a vote on which logo to pick when he visited on Thursday, October 24.The Pride group is the brainchild of Liam Spencer, a 34-year-old former pupil of what was known as Egerton Park High School and is now Denton Community College’s head personal, social and health education and religious education.
He said: “It’s been running since last year and its designed to support both young people who are LGBT but also to act as an ally club, so anyone is welcome as long as they support the community.
“We get about 50-55 people on a weekly basis, which is really good and this year we’ve also been running a competition to design a badge, which will be a version of our own school logo but is supposed to be designed to represent allies, so it’s about being an ally for the community.
“We’ve also been given two spots on the student council for LGBTQ+ representatives and we’ve got some members who wanted to be them.
“This is really important as it’s part of a much larger piece of work that we’re doing.
“Some Stonewall research came out in 2017 that really explained how terrible it is for lots of people because being LGBTQ+ is hidden, it’s something you can hide.
“It’s not like a situation of colour, so lots of people hide it and as a result there’s lots of bullying that goes on underneath that.
“We’re doing a lot of work on language and being an ally, we’re making sure people are aware of the experiences of LGBTQ+ people.
“That’s working towards a Rainbow Trust Award which tackles five really big areas – our policies to make sure they’re inclusive, our curriculum, making sure governors are on board, parents and pupils’ voice and skilling teachers.
“And on the logo, I’ve told the pupils that this can really make a lasting impression on the school.
“Once it’s done, even when you’ve left, people will still be wearing it.
“This has been a personal passion. I came here as a kid, so it’s nice to come back and have an impact.”
As well as Cllr Drennan, plans are being put in place to have other significant speakers address the Pride group.
Carl Austin-Behan, an advisor to Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, is scheduled to go in and other Tameside councillors are also on a list of potential speakers.
Mr Spencer added: “We’re trying to raise the profile really and just say, ‘These important people see you and respect you.’”