In a move aimed to tackle bullying, prejudice and discrimination of the queer community, all state schools in Scotland will soon include the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the curriculum.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told Parliament on Thursday that Scotland will “become the first country in the world to have LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex]-inclusive education embedded in the curriculum”. Work on the curriculum is expected to begin immediately.
“All state schools will be supported to teach LGBTI equality and inclusion across different age groups and subjects, grouped under various themes,” the Scottish government said in a press release. “The themes will include LGBTI terminology and identities; tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; prejudice in relation to the LGBTI community; and promoting awareness of the history of LGBTI equalities and movements.”
Swinney said Scotland was already considered one of the 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,” he added. “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 “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,” the minister said.
The decision was taken after the Scottish government accepted in full the recommendations made by a working group led by the Time for Inclusive Education campaign. The movement’s co-founder Jordan Daly called it a “monumental victory for our campaign and a historic moment for our country”.
Daly added that the “implementation of LGBTI-inclusive education across all state schools” will send a “strong and clear message” that members of the LGBT community are valued in Scotland, especially at a “time of global uncertainty”.
“Eighteen years from the repeal of Section 28, we can finally put its destructive legacy to bed,” Daly said. This legislation, which was introduced in 1988, had banned local authorities in the United Kingdom from promoting homosexuality, according to The Guardian. It was repealed in Scotland in 2001, and in the rest of the UK in 2003.
“Education is one of the most vital tools we have to tackle bullying, prejudice and discrimination – and it shapes the fabric of our society,” Daly added.