The Telegraph is reporting that the Chief Rabbi has told Orthodox Jewish schools to stop telling children that being gay is a sin, as he warns homophobia is leading to suicide attempts.
In guidance thought to be a world first, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has told staff to be inclusive towards LGBT children amid concerns about homophobic and transphobic bullying leading to isolation and self-harm.
The document, entitled “The Wellbeing of LGBT+ Pupils: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Schools”, produced alongside Jewish LGBT charity KeshetUK, warns that a “frightening” number of children have self-harmed or attempted suicide as a result of prejudice.
They are also advised to avoid offering “false reassurance” to pupils concerned at how their family will react to them coming out as gay or transgender.
Schools have also been cautioned that “conversion therapy”, which is designed to change someone’s sexuality, has been “strongly condemned” by doctors and psychotherapists, with the Government announcing its plans to outlaw it earlier this year.
“Our children need to know that at school, at home and in the community, they will be loved and protected regardless of their sexuality or gender identity,” Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said.
Earlier this year it emerged that a state-funded Orthodox Jewish school in north London, Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ school, had redacted mentions of homosexuality in textbooks, as well as references to women smoking, drinking and driving with men.
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