Good Morning Britain faced backlash from its viewers on 21 March after it included a live debate about whether children should be taught about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in schools.
In response to the news that LGBTQ education classes have been suspended at a number of Birmingham institutions following parent protestation, presenters Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway discussed the subject with Christian mother Izzy Montague and gay father Tom Cox.
Cox insisted that “homophobia is taught” and that an individual is never born feeling such prejudice. “What you are born with is your sexual preference; you are gay or you’re not,” he continued.
“I don’t dispute that it is a parent’s right to what [their child] goes to school for and how you raise them. But I think you’re doing your child a disservice by not allowing them to see that families come in all different shapes and sizes.”
Montague interjected: “I don’t agree with that. I believe it’s a choice. I made a choice [regarding] what I believe is right or wrong, I don’t remember ever thinking to myself “am I gay or am I straight?
“It’s something I have done based on my belief. So even if I was gay, I do believe based on my belief that I feel that a heterosexual relationship is a right course of action for me.”
'It's not about living in a vacuum, it's about [parents giving kids their own] opinions of the world around us.'
Mum Izzy Montague says it should be up to parents to teach children about subjects like LGBT rights, not schools. pic.twitter.com/T4VBVTVCt7
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 21, 2019
Addressing Cox directly, she added: “No one has forced you to be in a gay relationship. This is a decision that you have made.’”
Her comments upset viewers, with many taking to social media to share their confusion as to why such a matter should even be argued over in 2019. One Twitter user stated that they “complained to Ofcom” about GMB “letting that controversial debate happen.”
Those saying this woman isn’t homophobic: she said gay relationships aren’t right, she called being gay a lifestyle, she said LGBT people made a choice. Her rhetoric was clearly homophobic. Stop making excuses and call it what it is. #GMB #homophobia #ignorance
— Patricia Marques (@marquesp09) March 21, 2019
They also wrote: “What that vile woman said is really offensive.”
Another noted that yesterday – following Andrea Leadsom’s comments about parents being able to choose when their child is “exposed” to LGBTQ-positive teachings – they felt angry but today, they’re “just broken.”
“The irresponsibility of #GMB putting on a parent who thinks being gay really is a choice. Having been told to my face that a person chooses their sexuality is not something I wanted that parent to remind me of.”
Other users urged that we desperately need LGBTQ education in schools to combat viewpoints such as Montague’s.