Scottish Parliament will be first in Europe to back LGBTI inclusive education, reports TIE campaign
LGBTI flag - PA
The majority of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament support the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues in the school curriculum, a campaign on the issue has claimed.
The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign has announced 66 MSPs from all parties have now signed its pledge to back training and curricular guidance for teachers and a national strategy on homophobic bullying.
Should the matter come to an official vote it would make Holyrood the first parliament in Europe to express a majority support for inclusive education in schools.
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The news comes 17 years after the Scottish Parliament scrapped the controversial Section 28 law which prohibited local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality or “pretended family relationships”.
The move was opposed at the time by the Scottish Conservatives, some newspapers and the millionaire bus magnate Brian Soutar who spent £1m on a privately-funded referendum on the subject.
A spokesperson for the TIE campaign said “once and for all” the legacy of Section 28 could now be ended.
“We are delighted to have achieved majority support for our proposals for LGBTI-inclusive education in Scottish schools,” they said.
“This marks a significant step forward; not only for our campaign, but for all LGBTI young people across the country. It is important to recognise that this parliamentary mandate for our calls is a historical moment in the push for equal rights in Scotland.”
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said the Scottish Parliament had “made herself clear”.
“It's been an immense privilege to work with the campaign to get to this stage but we all know that there is still more work to be done,” she said.
“I'm glad that across all political divisions, those who have signed the pledge acknowledge that we all must work together to create that safe, secure and tolerant country for our LGBTI young people.”
Conservative MSP Ross Thomson said: “Finally achieving a clear majority of MSP support is a landmark moment for the TIE campaign and credit to the excellent and passionate hard work of it’s founders, Jordan Daly and Liam Stevenson. TIE have put the issue of LGBTI-inclusive education firmly to the top of the political agenda.”
And Scottish Green Ross Greer said the news fed directly into an ongoing investigation by the Education and Skills Committee into personal and social education (PSE).
“It's clear that PSE is out of date, inconsistent and just not valued as it should be. Addressing homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and mental health issues is hugely important,” he said.
“If we're serious about giving every young person the chance to do well, we must provide the time and space that teachers need. There shouldn't be any doubt about whether every young person receives relevant, inclusive personal education. That means action from the Scottish Government."