Scotland will become the first country in the world embed the teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights in the school curriculum.
State schools will have to teach pupils about the history of LGBTI equalities and movements, and look at ways to tackle homophobia and transphobia.
There will be no exemptions or opt-outs to the policy, which the Scottish government claim is a world first.
Jordan Daly, the co-founder of TIE Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign stated, “This is a monumental victory for our campaign, and a historic moment for our country. The implementation of LGBTI inclusive education across all state schools is a world first. In a time of global uncertainty, this sends a strong and clear message to LGBTI young people that they are valued here in Scotland.”
The deputy first minister, John Swinney, said: “Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI equality. I am delighted to announce we will be the first country in the world to have LGBTI-inclusive education embedded within the curriculum.
“Our education system must support everyone to reach their full potential. That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.”
Even before this, Scotland has been ranked as one of the best countries in relation to LGBTI people. This is despite the fact that it decriminalised homosexuality in 1980, 13 years later than England and Wales.
A study for TIE found that nine in 10 LGBTI Scots experience homophobia at school, and 27% reported they had attempted suicide after being bullied.
Let’s face it; in 2016, four of Scotland’s six party leaders (Dugdale for Labour, the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson, Ukip’s David Coburn and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. I struggle to find a country where that is mirrored.
This all comes in the wake of a number of women’s groups contacting Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, warning that the Westminster government’s sex education plans for England were “squeamish” and doomed to failure unless there were major changes.
I have to say, I love the move by the Scottish government. It is important that everyone learns about inclusivity, and how not to have hate in your heart, from an early age. That isn’t the same as ‘promoting homosexuality’ as critics will claim; it is just a case of learning, in your formative years, not to be a bigot.
There will hopefully come a point where this kind of education isn’t necessary. But, despite Scotland being progressive in nature, things aren’t perfect, so until that day comes, acceptance, and in some cases, tolerance, needs to be taught.
Let us all raise a glass to this excellent move. With any luck, the rest of the UK can start catch up pretty fast.
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