The future is here: Scotland becomes the first country in the world to embed LGBT education in school curriculum

The future is here: Scotland becomes the first country in the world to embed LGBT education in school curriculum

For 13 years, from 1988, Scottish teachers who even mentioned homosexuality in the classroom risked running afoul of Margaret Thatcher’s controversial Section 28 law. The legislation banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and in schools across the UK. Teachers could not include books or films with gay themes on syllabuses or in school libraries, address homosexuality in the classroom, or indeed do anything which might suggest that homosexuality was “acceptable… as a pretended family relationship.”

Scotland has become the first country in the world to embed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-inclusive education across the school curriculum.

The historic mandate came after the country’s ministers accepted the full recommendations of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign. Students will learn about the history of LGBTQ equality, how to tackle homophobia and transphobia, and the nuances of LGBTQ identity, in all its forms, going beyond the LGBT inclusion to be introduced in sex education in Wales.

All school staff will be given a basic awareness e-learning course on LGBT inclusive education and a toolkit of LGBT inclusive education teaching resources. A dedicated website will also be launched with resources for information to support young people. Subjects across age groups will now include LGBT identities, issues and history, focused on promoting equality, reducing bullying and improving the educational experiences of LGBT children and young people.

Time for Inclusive Education co-founder Jordan Daly said: “I experienced bullying and prejudice at school for being gay, and it had a detrimental impact on my confidence and wellbeing for some time.

“This new website, and the supporting resources, which have been co-developed with teachers across Scotland, will support teachers to take a proactive, educational approach to tackle prejudice.

“Most importantly, this work will empower young people and provide them with an opportunity I didn’t have at school – to feel valued, confident, and proud of who they are.”

As per a study in TIE, nine in ten LGBTQ Scots faced homophobia in school. Twenty-seven per cent said they had attempted suicide after being bullied.

When it comes to laws protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community, Scotland is far ahead of many countries. The same-sex civil partnership has been legal since 2005, and same-sex marriage since 2014. Since 2009, same-sex couples can adopt and foster kids legally. As per law since 2010, discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality has been banned.

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