Scottish first for LGBT studies in schools
In a world first, Scotland has this week announced that it will embed LGBT identity, the tackling of homophobia and the history of the gay rights movement into the curriculum.
There will be no opt outs from the policy, so all students in State schools will benefit from inclusive education. This will be a major step forward for Scotland, only last year Stonewall Scotland published a report that stated 41% of LGBT young people are not taught any LGBT issues. It was also reported that 63% of young LGBT people in Scotland were exposed to homophobic language.
Up until the year 2000, Section 28 was policy in Scotland, this Thatcherite policy banned the ‘promotion’ of any homosexual issue in schools. If a young LGBT person was being bullied in their school the teacher’s hands were effectively tied. Scotland was slightly ahead of the rest of the UK in repealing Section 28, so it is heartening to see that Scotland is once again taking the lead in pushing LGBT equality.
The rest of the UK has not reached where Scotland has now got to. It is welcomed that the Government are continuing with their consultation on how to improve sex and relationship education in schools. Earlier in the year, education minister, Nick Gibb gave reassurances to Labour MP’s that LGBT issues were still on the table after former Education Secretary, Justine Greening was sacked and replaced with Damian Hinds.
It is vital that schools in the UK start to get LGBT education right. I left high school in 2006 and LGBT education was practically non-existent. My most vivid recollection of LGBT issues that came up in school was when we watched an education video about HIV. To ensure LGBT people are fully included within society we need education that is fit for purpose and starts people on a path in life that helps them to succeed regardless of who they are.
Scotland should take pride in not just being the first country in Europe but the first country in the world to ensure that the historical fight for LGBT rights will be ingrained in education and hopefully ensure that the fight for LGBT equality is even easier in the years to come.
Dan Carter for Canal St Online.
Picture Glasgow Pride 2018