Shaun Dellenty (1968) is nationally recognised, multi-award-winning advocate and campaigner for LGBT+ inclusion in education and communities, designated by the Independent on Sunday 'Pink List' as one of the 100 most influential LGBT people in the UK and by UK Prime Minister David Cameron as a 'leading light' in advancing LGBT+ equality.
He has worked in various roles in education since 1996, including class-teacher, school leader and consultant. Shaun is a survivor of sustained childhood homophobic bullying, experiences that caused him to exit state education early in the 1980s with the intention of taking his own life. In 2009 Shaun’s (then) London primary school pupil voice data revealed that 75% pupils were experiencing daily bullying related to LGBT+ identity. In response he ‘came out’ to his whole school community and devised a suite of training 'Inclusion For All' with the aim of empowering education contexts to facilitate positive LGBT+ inclusion and to create safer, inclusive spaces for all school stakeholders, regardless of identity. Shaun recounts his journey in school assemblies, lecture theatres and at business dinners and diversity events across the UK and abroad. Clients range from initial teacher training faculties, national education unions, faith based youth groups, to banks and global businesses brands. Such was the rapid and positive impact of Shaun's training that the Department For Education, OFSTED and national press positively reported Shaun’s work, as he broke new ground in the primary sector especially.
Now working independently, Shaun coaches and speaks for faith and non faith primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, teacher training faculties, local authorities, hate-crime, police and anti-bullying organisations including; Amnesty UK, Stonewall, National College, NSPCC, Kidscape, Open University, Liverpool Hope, South Bank, Teach First, The Open University, Institute of Education, House of Commons and many more. Shaun has personally trained over 14,000 education professionals since 2009. He has delivered webinars, appeared on national radio and television and spoken at many high profile hate crime and anti-bullying conferences, IDAHOT events, LGBT+ Pride events and at LGBT+ history month events in the UK and abroad. He has delivered several TEDx talks. Shaun worked with EV Crowe and the production team of the play 'Hero' at the Royal Court Theatre, in part informed by observations undertaken of Shaun working with pupils in school.
Shaun's work has featured in Times Educational Supplement, Leadership Focus, LDR Magazine, Teach Primary, Huffington Post, The Guardian, London Evening Standard, The Mirror, The Telegraph and more.He has written for Teach Primary magazine, The Guardian, Gay Star News, Gay Times, LDR magazine and many others.
Shaun judged Amnesty International Young Journalist Award and provides training for the Amnesty Human Rights Teacher Programme. Shaun's work featured on the CBBC television series ‘Our School’. His work was recommended by the Church of England and he was named a 'Pride Hero' by members of the public in 2015. Shaun appears in the forthcoming film 'After 82' to discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS in the UK.
Shaun has advised on policy at the House of Commons and Lords and at cross party committees and has spoken at Inside Government. In 2016 Shaun launched an anti-homophobia schools tour 'BOY' in collaboration with HyperFusion Theatre Company, a work that was performed in UK Parliament. Shaun is currently leading on positive LGBT+ inclusion with the Isle of Man Education Department.
In January 2017 the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement named Shaun on their 'Rainbow List' of LGBT allies working to promote greater understanding between faith, non faith and LGBT communities. He was also nominated for the 'Inclusive Networks Awesome 100' of inspiring people working to achieve social and professional representation for LGBT+ people in the UK. For LGBT History Month 2017 The Open University produced a free online resource on preventing homophobic language based upon a lecture Shaun had delivered in a previous year. In 2017 Shaun supported the National Association of Headteachers in producing a guide for LGBT+ school based professionals.
In July 2016 Shaun married his partner at the Houses of Parliament. He enjoys walking, ski-ing, nature, meditating. cooking, reading and watching very old black and white episodes of Dr Who from the 1960s. He also loves schnauzers.In a previous life he was a professional actor and corporate host. Shaun is currently seeking publishers for his first book ‘That Gay Teacher’ about his journey and IFA work. Shaun is also a Mindfulness Teacher.
Selected Awards and Plaudits
• May 2016 'Education Champion' at Excellence In Diversity Awards
• May 2016 honoured by the Mayor of Southwark at Southwark Cathedral with Highest Civic Honour
• May 2016 designated with ‘Points of Light’ status by Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street
• November 2017 officially recognised by the 3 Faiths Forum for advocacy between faith, non faith and LGBT+ communities
• 2013 and 2014 nomination for Royal Air Force 'LGBT Inspirational Role Model Award' Square Peg Media
• 2013 and 2014 nominated as 'LGBT Inspirational Role Model' at the National Diversity Awards
• 2015 nominated a 'Pride Hero' by members of the public for Pride In London 2015
• ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2015 Excellence In Diversity Awards
Official You Tube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/darebear68
For Media, Training or Speaker Inquiries Bookings@inclusionforall.co.uk
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I feel privileged to witness the positive impact my work has had upon individuals, upon schools and through advising on policy, upon the education system itself. Coming out to a whole school community was indeed the most profound thing I have ever done. We carry on with hope in our hearts, the battle for real equality is only just beginning. Authentic identity should never be a privilege.
It is easy to forget in the Netflix age, but Twin Peaks was a <strong>big</strong> deal, especially during its first season. I can vouch absolutely for mornings spent analysing the town's strange events with the office typing pool at the water cooler.
I don't often wake at my parent's house these days but this past Sunday I did. Staggering downstairs bleary eyed for breakfast my Mother handed me a cup of tea and asked me if I had seen the news from Orlando. Accessing the Twitter news feed, it took me no longer than a few seconds to ascertain that something dreadful was unfolding in Orlando.
Three million pounds can never replace the countless nameless souls we have lost, both in the UK and around the world since formal education began, whose lives were terminally compromised by prejudice, discrimination and hate. It is to these people that I wish to dedicate my recent awards and honours, in addition to everyone who has invited me along to speak or supported my work.
Following my visits to faith schools, without exception I ask young people whether they feel their faith is a barrier to learning about LGBT+ people and the damage prejudicial attitudes can cause.Without exception they assure me that their faith tells them to<em> love, to respect and to take care of people</em>.
Twin Peaks never went away, it merely dissipated into wider TV culture, developing multiple personalities on such shows as Northern Exposure, American Gothic, Eerie Indiana, The X-Files, Lost and Fortitude.
Aim for inclusion not segregation, acceptance not tolerance and be warm in praise of those who spot young people at risk and hold out a hand to help, we absolutely need more of that in the world about now.
Still missing is regular, usualised (to use Sue Sanders word) portrayals of LGBT pupils, parents and role models who are happy, successful and kind human beings- just going about their lives. Such portrayals send a vital <strong>life-changing </strong>message to the emergent young LGBT souls out there.
A new term, you're starting to feel that you have established yourself with parents and pupils. You remain instinctively cautious on entering unfamiliar contexts; a side effect of years of school-based bullying, resulting in lapses onto anxiety medication...
So in the end, common sense, lots of hard work from lots of people and the freedom to love and be loved prevailed. I can now legally wed the man I love, should I choose to. Blimey, I feel like my experience of reality just changed massively.
Lots of kids say they are going to run away, some mean it, some do not; some slip out and hang out at the end of the street until they get hungry, bored or realise that their bluff has been called. For me the notion of running away had become very real.
It was heartening to see so many messages of support for Tom and sadly not surprising to read the various comments of hate that the faceless Twitter cowards immediately started shooting into the ether.I am thrilled for Tom that he has found love, long may it continue; he should be proud of who he is as an individual and for his achievements. I hope that in the coming days weeks and months we can all make his choice of partner the least interesting element of his life...
Through my nursery and primary school years the good Doctor will be my truest and most reliable friend. He will teach me how to try and disarm situations with a funny story, or a joke or a random distraction, which in turn will help me manage situations in which I am bullied or when I ultimately become a teacher.
Whilst these engagements provide wonderful opportunities to share these vital messages, there is one 'genre' of speaking engagement which cuts to the very core of why I undertake this work; trainee teacher and newly qualified teacher events...
Education is the very best weapon we have in the fight against prejudicial, discriminatory and hateful attitudes towards LGBT people, educators must put the safety and well-being of children first, even if that means facing some unpalatable truths about their own practice.
Aside from these debates around initialism and labels, I was also party to a number of high powered debates around the use of word 'phobia' in homophobia, transphobia etc. Again there are many valid points to be made around what phobias are and what they are not and we could debate that for a very long time without actually changing anything.
I believe there needs to be a greater effort to attract LGBT people into teaching. We need to let LGBT people know they will be welcomed and supported in our wonderful profession and that they can be great role models for pupils.
Waking up at 3am on a Sunday morning to find a message from an ex-pupil congratulating me on entering the Independent on Sunday Pink List was an unexpected experience, as was reading that I was 'much nominated' and that pupils had voted for me.
It would be naive of me to think that such opposition doesn't exist in some quarters and I have encountered it directly from a headteacher of a Catholic school who openly stated that she would not employ LGBT staff.
19/10/2012 13:30 BST
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