Shaun Dellenty is a survivor, a teacher and a hero. He was recently given a Points of Light award by Prime Minister David Cameron for his inspiring work bringing LGBT+ inclusion into schools.
Shaun’s story has not always been a happy one. Aged 17 he walked out of state education tried to take his own life. Homophobia and bullying at school from peers, teachers and others made him feel awful, and he found himself sitting on the side of a bath tub with a rusted razor blade and a Martini bottle. That day, among the multitude of angry voices in his head, thankfully there was a whisper of hope and he found the courage to fight on.
Nowadays he is an openly gay primary school deputy headteacher. He also leads the organisation Inclusion for All, going into schools and sharing the message that LGBT+ people exist and are a fact of life. He challenges the idea that political, personal or theological beliefs should enable discrimination towards children and young people of any identity. We need to stop homophobia or risk putting young lives at risk.
I’d like to share with you a moving image from one of Shaun’s recent workshops at a primary school. We’ve come a long way, but by golly we still have a long way to go.