Prominent gay Scottish politicians back LGBTi teaching in the classroom

Date: 10th August 2016
Category: Non-discrimination

The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) Campaign for LGBTI education to be taught as part of the curriculum in Scottish schools has been supported by several prominent gay Scottish politicians including Mhairi Black, Kezia Dugdale, Tory MSP Annie Wells, and Patrick Harvie.

The TIE campaign is calling for LGBTi issues to be taught in all schools as part of the Scottish curriculum, in order to tackle discrimination, bullying and homophobia. The campaign has reached Holyrood, political party conferences and schools across Scotland.

TIE supporters say that without 'inclusive' education, LGBTi youngsters are being bullied and in some cases the result is self-harming and even suicide.

The SNP MP Mhairi Black has said she never had to come out as her peers were already aware of her sexuality from a young age. However, other pupils in her Catholic secondary were bullied for their sexuality. She compared LGBTI education to education about racism and sexism.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was not openly gay while in school or university, and as a result, she says, she did not experience homophobia or bullying related to her sexuality. Despite this, she understands the need to address the problems affecting young people who are gay or transgender and facing discrimination.

Conservative MSP Annie Wells told her parents she was gay in her early teens but subsequently got married at 18 to a man, ending the marriage seven years later when she could no longer cope with hiding her sexuality.

Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said he put his bisexuality "on the back burner" until after his exams were finished in school as he didn't feel as though he was in a safe environment to come out about his sexuality.

UN Concluding Observations

In June 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, following a UK State Party examination, expressed concerns that bullying remains a serious and widespread problem in the UK - including Scotland - particularly against LGBTi children and that relationships and sexuality education is not mandatory in all schools (Concluding Observation 64b). The Committee highlighted that the content and quality of relationships and sexuality education varies between schools, and LGBTi children do not have access to accurate information on their sexuality (Section 63b).