Jordan Daly and his friend, Liam Stevenson, were victims of homophobia at their school in Scotland. In 2014, they decided to establish TIE (Time for Inclusive Education). TIE aims to eliminate homophobia and transphobia with LGBTQ+ inclusive education. Daly and Stevenson collected experiences from other youth in the LGBTQ+ community. This data showed that 9 out of 10 LGBTs had experienced homophobic discrimination at school. And 27% said they had tried to commit suicide after being bullied or harassed. TIE wrote a report on this research and presented it to the Ministry of Education in 2018. This report included recommendations to implement LGBTQ+ education in all public schools. Throughout their struggle, Daly and Stevenson received support from renowned professors and activists across the country.

Historic moment in Scotland’s history

On November 8, 2018, the Scottish Government gave the green light to integrate this topic into the school curriculum for primary and secondary schools. Scotland will become the first country in the world to include LGBTQ+ education in the curriculum. Vice President John Swinney announced this to the Parliament. Swinney strongly supports the decision: ‘Scotland has always been one of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding LGBTQ+ equality. I am delighted to announce that we are the first country in the world to have LGBTQ+ inclusive education introduced into the curriculum.’

How does it work in practice?

Since the start of the school year in 2021, Scotland has become the first country in the world where public schools are required to teach students about the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Experts are supporting schools in implementing the new guidelines. Students are also given a broader vocabulary about gender and sexual diversity. In addition, they receive information to combat homophobia and prejudice. ‘Our education system must support everyone to reach their full potential,’ Education Secretary John Swinney told the BBC. ‘That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.’

End of destructive legacy Section 28

Scotland has not always been so progressive. Section 28 was a controversial amendment to the UK Local Government Act, introduced on May 24, 1988, and repealed on November 18, 2003. The amendment prohibited local authorities from “intentionally promoting homosexuality or publishing material to encourage homosexuality” and “teaching the permissibility of homosexuality as a so-called family relationship.” 

The content of Section 28 was that congregations were not allowed to distribute materials in which homosexual relationships were considered normal. It also prohibited teachers from discussing the topic of homosexuality in school. As a result, many schools no longer dared to discuss homosexuality-related issues in class for fear of losing their government support. Daly believes that the Scottish government’s new education policy will end the destructive legacy of Section 28. 

Scotland praised for its fight against homophobia 

The Scottish government has been active in the fight against homophobia for several years. Scotland was praised as the most gay-friendly country in Europe by ILGA-Europe (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) in 2014 and 2015. They hope other countries will soon follow Scotland’s lead and make LGBTQ+ education mandatory.

Sources

Scotland teaches LGBTQIA+ history in schools: a world first: https://lespotiches.com/monde/international/ecosse-enseigne-histoire-lgbtqia-dans-ses-ecoles-une-premiere-mondiale/

Scotland to become the first country in the world to teach LGBT rights history in schools: https://www.jeanne-magazine.com/le-magazine/2018/12/02/lecosse-va-devenir-le-premier-pays-au-monde-a-enseigner-lhistoire-des-droits-lgbt-a-lecole_15541/

Scotland to become the first country to teach LGBT+ rights in schools: https://www.neonmag.fr/lgbt-lecosse-va-etre-le-premier-pays-a-enseigner-les-droits-lgbt-a-lecole-520463.html#:~:text=Scotland%20will%20become%20the%2C%20bisexual%2C%20intersex%20and%20transgender.

Scotland becomes the first country to teach LGBTI rights in schools: https://pepsnews.com/lecosse-devient-le-premier-pays-a-enseigner-les-droits-lgbti-a-lecole/

Scotland to embed LGBTI teaching across the curriculum: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/nov/09/scotland-first-country-approve-lgbti-school-lessons

LHBTI- les in Schotland: https://www.zijaanzij.nl/nieuws/5617/LHBTI-les-in-Schotland.html

Sectie28: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectie_28