Today LGBT+ activists are waving their flags with pride following the Scottish governments plans to implement LGBT+ inclusive education. All pupils in Scottish state schools will be the first in the world to have LGBT+ history, movements, and issues embedded into their curriculum. This is an historic moment in history as only eighteen years ago local authorities in the UK were banned from ‘promoting’ homosexuality.
The initiative was founded by the Time for Inclusive Education campaign (TIE) that set out to tackle homophobia and transphobia through educating young people at school as well as exploring LGBT+ identity. Jake Steven, a 20-year-old student said: “I was the only transgender person in a high school where we were never taught about the LGBT+ community. This lack of understanding grew into ignorance in the school corridors and playgrounds where kids would shout; “Are you a boy or a girl?”, “How do you have sex?”, “I won’t refer to you as a boy because you were born girl.”, “Tranny!”.”
Critics argue that money can be spent in other areas rather than an “LGBT agenda”. Although a study for TIE found that 9 in 10 LGBTI Scots experience homophobia at school, and 27% reported they had attempted suicide after being bullied. The research also suggested that there is little understanding in schools about prejudice against people with variations of sex characteristics and intersex bodies. Jake said: “Due to my battle with gender dysphoria in a school where my teachers or class mates didn’t have the resources to understand what I was going through, I started my 5th year with five Highers and ended the year with no grades at all.”
Nevertheless, Scotland has been ranked one of Europe’s leading countries for LGBT+ rights.
The addition, the curriculum will be age appropriate; in primary school it will focus on teaching children that they do not need to conform to gender stereotypes and introducing different types of families in a bid to decrease stigma. During high school years, young people struggling with their sexuality, gender or both will see themselves reflected in classrooms through referring to famous LGBT+ peoples work in the curriculum. As well as lessons regarding LGBT+ terminology and identities and recognising and understanding homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Jake said: “Hopefully, with the LGBT education being taught in schools, the next generation of gay and trans pupils will have equal treatment, opportunities and will be leaving school into a safer society.”