Philip Glanville says he's determined to stand up against hate
According to the Hackney Citizen, Aron Klein, a Stamford Hill Tory councillor who caused a furore last week after saying ‘No thank you’ to LGBT education, as well as singling out Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville (Lab & Co-op) for his sexuality, is under investigation by the Conservative Party,
Glanville, above, responded by using Klein’s own words against him in a broadside against bigotry:
We reiterate the commitments we made to stand up to hate, whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, or indeed homophobia.
Anyone who has opened the Hackney Gazette recently will see that there are people in this chamber who don’t share those values, and make cheap attacks, including on me.
I would use some of [Cllr Klein’s words] to say politely no thanks to you, Mr Klein. No thanks to your bigotry, no thanks to your view on the Carnival, no thanks to your views on bus lanes, red routes, our diversity, the role of Ofsted or myriad other things.
It’s also a no thank you to your view of morality. You do not have a view of morality that is suitable for this chamber or this council. When you question Ofsted, you’re questioning our commitment to keep all of our children safe.
Klein had rejecting LGBT education as “confusing” for children.
He sent an email to the Hackney Gazette in response to coverage of the council’s attempts to more tightly regulate unregistered Jewish faith schools, or yeshivas by education watchdog Ofsted.
Klein claimed that the introduction of Ofsted regulation would give students at yeshivas “ideas of atheist, gay, early childhood sex” and went on to reference Mayor Glanville’s own sexuality.
I believe he is gay. Good luck to him. No thank you. We don’t want Ofsted coming mixing, confusing our children. For us it’s Adam and Eve. A man and a woman. A boy and a girl.
Despite condemnation from Glanville, and the local Conservative federation saying it was “looking into the matter”, an email from Klein to the media over the weekend bore the tired old homophobic taunt:
It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Just tell Philip Glanville to stop crying like a innocent cheep [sic] was attacked by a wolf. I am not homophobic, neither misogynist. I don’t care who people juggle around with.
The Tory’s code of conduct commits its elected representatives to “support equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion” and to “encourage and foster respect and tolerance”.
Rights groups Stonewall and the LGBT Foundation have now both added their voices in criticism of Klein’s remarks, with the latter organisation underlining that LGBT education or the lack of it does nothing to change young peoples’ sexual orientation or gender identity, but that not receiving it may cause confusion or shame for LGBT students about their own identity.
Emma Meehan, Assistant Director of public affairs at the LGBT Foundation, said:
Cllr Klein’s comments are deeply disappointing, and do a great disservice to his LGBT constituents. Every school should be a place where young people are able to grow and learn about themselves and others. It is a place where every child should feel they have a right to exist and feel safe.
Stonewall also blasted Klein’s remarks, underlining the importance of children being able to:
See themselves reflected and know there is a place for them in society.
Josh Bradlow, the charity’s Head of Policy, said:
Teaching about LGBT families helps all young people grow up knowing there’s nothing wrong or unusual about being LGBT and helps prevent the anti-LGBT bullying that remains widespread in our schools.
Comments like Cllr Klein’s can perpetuate a false assumption that there is a divide between people of faith and people who are LGBT. Many people are both.
We work closely with a variety of faith schools, providing training and support so they can ensure all pupils feel accepted, included and able to reach their full potential.