Now is the Time for Inclusive Education

tieScotland is to become the first country in the world to have LGBTI-inclusive education embedded across the national school curriculum.

On 8 November 2018, John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of the devolved Scottish Government, announced that LGBTI-inclusive education would be implemented across all Scottish state schools, and the Scottish Government have vowed that “Work to implement the recommendations will start immediately.”

In his announcement, Mr 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.

“The recommendations I have accepted will not only improve the learning experience of our LGBTI young people, they will also support all learners to celebrate their differences, promote understanding and encourage inclusion.”

This historic announcement marks a success after three years of campaigning by groups such as Stonewall Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, and Time for Inclusive Education (TIE). John Daly, Co-founder of TIE, said:

After three years of campaigning, we are delighted that LGBTI inclusive education will now become a reality in all of Scotland’s state schools. 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, and in a time of global uncertainty, this sends a strong and clear message to LGBTI young people that they are valued here in Scotland.

“Eighteen years from the repeal of Section 28, we can finally put its destructive legacy to bed.

“Education is one of the most vital tools we have to tackle bullying, prejudice and discrimination – and it shapes the fabric of our society. We now look forward to continuing our work with the Scottish Government as we progress towards full implementation.”

Section 28 was a policy implemented under Margaret Thatcher’s government for sexual and gender diversity to be discussed in UK schools.

Mr Swinney’s announcement was marked by an applause across the political spectrum of the Scottish Parliament, with the policy having cross-party support. There have been very few voices opposed to the move, and those who are have patently never read the proposals. Contrary to what some think, LGBTI-inclusive will not be implemented to the detriment of other education, but will work alongside the existent school curriculum, but with greater emphasis upon LGBT issues during age-appropriate lessons.

There are, as ever, the few minority voices screaming out about this, usually from the usual suspects of Scotland’s dour, Calvinistic, religious homophobes and transphobes. Unfortunately it seems that the Wee Frees and the like are deterimined to stay locked in to their “Thou shalt not” mentality. Just a word, dears, as Scotland’s own Billy Connolly once said “We fucking shall. Ye live in a land where the men wear skirts. We’ve done it before, and we’ll dae it again.”

But I am very pleased to see that the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is not taking a stance against this, as I and some others thought thay may, as Scotland has state-funded RC schools. In fact, one member of the LGBTI-Inclusive Education Working Group is Barbara Coupar of the Scottish Catholic Education Service. Kudos for once to the RC Church then, because their stance against equal marriage in Scotland was downright shameful.

The move towards LGBTI-Inclusive Education was felt necessary to reduce bullying of and improve the experience for LGBTI-youth in Scotland. One of the aims of this is to give all pupils a greater understanding of LGBTI people.

Stonewall Scotland report that in 2017 half of LGBT young poeple in Scotland, including seven in 10 transgender youths, were still bullied because of sexual orientation or gender identity. One in four lesbian, gay, and bisexual, and two in five transgender young people had attempted suicide as a result. Meanwhile, two in five LGBT pupils had never been taught anything about LGBT issues in schools. This becomes even more alarming when one considers that Stonewall Scotland call this an “improvement”.

Scotland is fast becoming the best little country in the world to be an LGBT person. Scottish Criminal Law recognises hate crimes based upon sexuality and gender identity; the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014 not only allowed same-sex marriage but was inclusive of all sexualities and genders; the Scottish Government is to implement self-identification of gender in the next year, making changing of gender on birth certificates and other official documentation, quicker, free of charge, and without any governmental intrusion into the individual’s private life.

Now, Nicola Sturgeon, sweetie, about parents choosing the gender of intersex babies…

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