In what is a historic moment, Scotland will officially be requiring all schools to include curriculum on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights and activism.
Schools will be including curriculum on LGBTI identities and terminology, the history of LGBTI movements, and ways to recognize and tackle homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. According to The Guardian, there will be no exemptions or room to opt out of the policy, and the LGBTI inclusive education will be applied to a variety of subjects.
The move came after the Scottish Parliament fully accepted the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group. The group will begin work on the curriculum recommendations immediately, aiming to have them fully implemented by 2021.
Jordan Daly, the co-founder of The Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, one of the members of the working group, told The Guardian that this “is a monumental victory for our campaign, and a historic moment for our country.”
“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 said.
— TIE (@tiecampaign) November 8, 2018
“Our education system must support everyone to reach their full potential,” Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said in a statement Thursday. “That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.”
According to a 2016 study from TIE, 90 percent of LGBTQ people in Scotland have experienced homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia at school. Sixty-four percent of LGBTQ people have been “directly bullied due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” and 27 percent have attempted suicide due to the bullying. The same study found that teachers are unprepared for how to deal with this. Eighty percent of teachers feel that they haven’t been properly trained on how to deal with homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia in the classroom.
The new victory comes just three months after Scottish lawmakers unanimously voted to pardon men, both living and dead, who were convicted of consensual sexual activity with other men before doing so was decriminalized in 1981. Same sex relations between women was never criminalized in Scotland.
It was only 17 years ago that Scotland repealed a vaguely worded law that made it illegal for public authorities and schools to “intentionally promote homosexuality.” Section 28 of the Local Government Act was repealed in Scotland in 2001 and in the rest of the United Kingdom in 2003.
Daly told The Guardian that with the new policy, the “destructive legacy” of section 28 has finally ended.