Words: Will Stroude
Anti-gay activists leading protests against LGBTQ-inclusive education at schools in Birmingham have taken their hate campaign to the gates of another primary school more than 50 miles away, sparking fury amongst parents.
Anti-LGBTQ campaigners including Amir Ahmed - who has helped co-ordinate protests outside Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham in recent months, despite not having children at either school - have turned up outside Fernwood Primary in Wollaton, Nottingham in recent days to protest against equality lessons being taught there, Birmingham Live reports.
Their latest stunt comes after Birmingham City Council introduced an exclusion zone around Anderton Park Primary School last month banning all protests in the vicinity of the school gates.
Speaking outside Fernwood Primary School on Monday (22 July), Mr Ahmed continued to espouse homophobia under the guise of religious freedom as he told Birmingham Live: “These lessons are indoctrinating children that LGBT relationships are normal. Traditional families are about modesty and chastity.
Amir Ahmed who helps organise protests in Birmingham is here in Nottingham telling parents they’re being “indoctrinated” on LGBT issues pic.twitter.com/Zqo9amvxkO— Becky Johnson (@BeckyJohnsonSky) July 22, 2019
"They are diminishing. Just as their family structure is important to them, our structure is important to us."
Reassuringly, however, parents at Fernwood have wasted no time orchestrating their own counter-protest against the unwelcome visitors, with many taking rainbow Pride flags to the school gates to show their support for the school's inclusive curriculum.
One video shared on Twitter shows a woman pulling up at the side of the road next to an anti-gay protester before branding him a "horrible, nasty man" and telling him to leave.
#WATCH🎥: “This is a school - it's disgusting behaviour!"— Capital East Mids News (@CapitalEMNews) July 22, 2019
People outside #Fernwood Primary in #Nottingham are making protesters know they’re not happy about #NoRSE protests. They're due to start in the next half an hour.#CapitalReports pic.twitter.com/IUhCYxyfJK
Brett Griffin-Young, a gay father with two children at Fernwood school told Sky News: "I have no idea, honestly no idea why they've chosen this school.
"But they picked the wrong school. I think it's actually backfired a bit on them because it's been used as a teaching opportunity.
"All of the kids are now very aware of LGBT issues."
In a separate interview with Capital East Midlands News, Mr Griffin-Young praised the reaction of his neighbours and fellow parents.
"I think what I've found so empowering about this is that the entire community has stood up for families like mine. You drive up the street and there are Pride flags billowing outside houses, it's truly amazing," he said.
“This is about bigotry and homophobia” - Brett is a gay parent with children at Fernwood Primary in #Nottingham and told us what he thinks about today’s protests there...#CapitalReports pic.twitter.com/ZqOQJHLbZR— Capital East Mids News (@CapitalEMNews) July 22, 2019
"We've had a lot of horns honking, we've had a lot of flags billowing out of cars."
"[The children] are pretty supportive too. I noticed a lot of kids wearing rainbow colours."
Nottingham Police have said they are continuing to monitor the situation outside Fernwood Primary School, while local MP Lilliam Greenwood backed the parents fighting against the intolerance that's arrived on their doorstep.
The Labour MP for Nottingham South wrote on Facebook: "[Parents] should not be made to feel intimidated for wanting their children to be taught about respecting different people and different families, just as children should not be made to feel intimidated coming to school."
The current protests in Birmingham began earlier this year in response to the 'No Outsiders' programme created by Parkfield Community School teacher Andrew Moffat, who was honoured with an Attitude Pride Award earlier this month for his work to make the classtoom a more inclusive place.