By Prarthana Mitra
In a first, Scotland sets the precedent by becoming the first nation in the world to introduce LGBT curriculum to schools, following an education workshop conducted by the Scottish government. A working committee led by Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign submitted recommendations that were passed by the Parliament in a historic announcement on Friday.
Jordan Daly, the co-founder of TIE, beamed at the fact that this move brings an end to the “destructive legacy” of the 20 years-old Section 28, which banned local authorities from “intentionally promoting homosexuality” till 2001. It was repealed in the rest of UK two years later.
“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,” Daly told The Guardian.
Scotland is out to catch ’em young
“Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI equality,” Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney also told the press, despite the fact that homosexuality was decriminalised in Scotland in 1980, 13 years later than England and Wales. Scotland has since been regarded as one of the best European countries when it comes to legal rights and protection for the LGBTI spectrum. In 2016, four of Scotland’s six parties had representatives belonging to the spectrum, forming the “gayest parliament in the world.”
“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,” Swinney added.
Here’s what the programme will entail
Hailed as a monumental victory and a crucial step in striking at the roots of homophobia, Scottish schools will begin teaching concepts covering LGBTQ identity, equality, discrimination, transphobia, and history of the gay rights movement. There will be special training for teachers and school inspections to properly implement the reform.
This comes at a time when 9 out of 10 queer students in Scotland reported being subject to homophobia and bullying at school, while 27% of them attempted suicide after being bullied. The working committee also noted that there is very little understanding of intersex bodies and prejudice against anyone who doesn’t identify as cisgender-heteronormative.
Yet, there has been considerable backlash from Christian groups who have warned against the teaching of controversial subjects in schools. By attacking gender dysphoria and homophobia at the school level, Scotland however, sets an important example for countries that are still squeamish about addressing these issues in the formative stage.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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