In 2021 Scotland will become the first country to teach LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons
All public schools in Scotland will be able to learn about LGBTQ+ issues inside the community by 2021. There is no age group or specific subject specified as of yet but the issues that will be taught will include: homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Along with the history of same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting and viruses such as the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
This movement first began in November 2018 when Scottish Ministers agreed to deliver LGBTQ+ inclusive education across the curriculum.
Once this programme begins, Scotland will be the first country in the world to have LGBTQ+ history, equality and identity issues added to their school curriculum.
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney has this to say about the monumental news:
“Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] equality.”Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney
John went on to say “I am delighted to announce we will be the first country in the world to have LGBTI inclusive education embedded within the curriculum.”
In recent history Scotland has made many breakthroughs for the LGBTQ+ community. Legalising same-sex marriage in 2014, adoption and fostering by same-sex couples has been legal since 2009 and Anti-discrimination laws based of gender and sexuality was put in place in 2010.
Breakthroughs don’t come without backlash
Although this news will be welcomed with joy from the LGBTQ+ community, there is always people who will oppose this new addition to the school curriculum. Similar to the No Outsiders programme bought forward by Andrew Moffatt the assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham.
You can watch this video by clicking the link here: No Outsiders news package.
Many parents and children thought this programme was a step forward in the right direction but locals were not all that supportive.
Stonewall reported that 17% of young people they surveyed stated they disagreed with any sort of LGBTQ+ inclusivity teaching inside of primary schools.
The Alum Rock Community Forum is one of a few protestors full of parents whose children are enrolled in these schools who are against the programme. The issue was first brought up by a parent named Fatima Shah, who initially pulled her 10-year-old daughter out of the school speaking to the Guardian saying:
‘It’s inappropriate, totally wrong’Fatima Shah – Guardian 2019
regarding the children being too young to learn about same-sex partnerships. Now there is over 400 signatures inside their petition for the scheme to be dropped, these community members wish to return to Section 28. Since then there has been over 600 children getting pulled out of these lessons due to complaints and protests. These regular protests outside school gates led to the programme being suspended until a resolution is achieved.
This subject of LGBTQ+ inclusivity inside UK education will forever be riddled with debate and controversy across the nation. Stonewall conducted a survey that stated 60% of British people believe it’s right to teach kids about diverse families including those with same-sex parents. For people aged between 16-24 the figure was even higher at 68%
“LGBT-inclusive education is life-changing teaching for so many young people, which is why it’s so powerful to see so much of the British public support the new legislation,”Paul Twocock
Another spokesperson Ben Saunders who is Stonewall’s 2019 Young Campaigner of the Year had this to say on the future of LGBTQ+ education:
‘LGBT-inclusive education makes a massive difference when you’re in school and you’re LGBT. So many people feel isolated and left out on their own because they’ve never learnt about being LGBT. It can be the difference between deciding to turn up to lessons or not, and even the difference between holding out hope for the future or not.’Ben Saunders
The introduction of this programme for schools in Scotland is another step forward for the LGBTQ+ community.
This is clearly shown as new research shows since Stonewall was founded 30 years ago to fight against section 28 which was repealed in 2003. The severity of this sensitive subject was highlighted in another survey. 45% of young people are bullied for being LGBTQ+, which can be resorted to the fact young people aren’t educated in the subject. Over 40% of LGBTQ+ students are not taught about LGBTQ+ issues throughout their education. How can you expect people to feel educated on a subject they don’t know anything about.
Stonewall stated that Hopefully by September 2020 secondary schools across England will be required to teach about sexual orientation and gender identity, and primary schools will teach about different types of families and background from the No Outsiders programme.
Scotland leads the progression
For now Scotland are the only country pledging to update their school curriculum but hopefully this is only the beginning. There is no surprise Scotland was the first country to choose this initiative as a big supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in 2016 to The Guardian described Scotland as having “the gayest parliament in the world”: This is due to at the time four of Scotland’s six party leaders (Dugdale, the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson, Ukip’s David Coburn and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie) identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The background of the LGBTQ+ community is considered an important part of history which has until now not been recognised or addressed properly inside schools. This needs to change and Scotland have taken a huge step in the battle against homophobia.
This news story highlights a big breakthrough for the LGBTQ+ community and the education department as a whole. Scotland we applaud you and here’s to a more educated and accepting future.