Scotland to become first country in the world to teach LGBT+ inclusive curriculum in schools

“It’s a step in the right direction” say LGBT+ students

In a world first, all Scottish state schools will teach LGBT+ history as part of the curriculum by 2021.

Schools will be expected to teach the fight for LGBT+ rights in lessons as well as actively tackle homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia by teaching pupils about LGBT+ identities.

The plans were approved by the Scottish government in November 2018 after a campaign by Time for Inclusive Education (TIE).  Schools will need to implement it into their curriculum by May 2021.

The new curriculum includes LGBT+ terminology and identities; tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; prejudice experience by the LGBT+ community; and promoting awareness of the history of LGBT+ equality and movements.

2020 marks exactly 20 years since the repeal of Section 2A (known as Section 28 in England and Wales) by the devolved Scottish Government in 2000. This was a law passed by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government in 1986 that banned publicly funded bodies from “promoting homosexuality”. In practice, it banned any discussion of LGBT+ issues in education and made it effectively impossible to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. It was repealed in the rest of the UK in 2003 but it is still not legally required to teach an LGBT+ inclusive curriculum in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

So, what do LGBT+ Edinburgh students think about this?

Iona, 2nd Year

“I think it’s awesome, obviously. I think the UK in general likes to hide its historic maltreatment of anyone who wasn’t white, straight or cisgendered. And this is such a step in the right direction. I hope they include things like King James I & VI being bisexual, and plenty of other historical figures whose sexualities or gender identities have been erased, as well as talking about the progression of rights and the atrocities committed against all members of the LGBT+ community.

I think that Scotland likes to paint itself as a country that values diversity, especially in contrast to the increasing conservative presence in England, and although it has some way to go, it makes me happy to think that the next generation of young Scottish people will be fully prepared and educated to make Scotland a more equal and accepting place.”

Sam, 2nd year

“I think it’s a wonderful win for the community and definitely a step forward. If anything, I’m a little jealous because these kids will be taught stuff I had to teach myself. I know that if being LGBT+ was normalised for me in school, I would’ve been more comfortable with myself and probably wouldn’t have been as ashamed or scared as I was. I think it’ll help kids accept themselves and their friends.”

Amelia, 4th year

“I’m starting a PGCE in September and I think it’s an incredible thing that is finally happening in Scotland, and hopefully the rest of the UK and world will follow. It will help so many students understand themselves, the struggle of LGBTQ+ and will allow students to be more understanding and accepting of others. Now what needs to be included is LGBTQ+ sex education as part of the curriculum!”

Cover image: Twitter via @jackreed27

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