Scotland will become the first country in the world to teach LGBT+ issues in school lessons, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced on Thursday.
The government has accepted all 33 recommendations included in a report by the LGBTI Inclusive Education working group, which encompasses several education-focused bodies and LGBT+ rights organisations, commissioned with the aim of addressing anti-LGBT bullying in schools and creating a more LGBT-friendly educational curriculum and social environment.
The recommendations included the addition of LGBT+ topics across various subjects, a free training programme aimed at teachers, and establishing a series of LGBT-themed outcomes in statutory guidance to public schools.
The themes taught during these school lessons will include LGBT+ terminology and identities, tackling homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and prejudice in relation to the LGBT+ community, and promoting awareness of the history of LGBTI equalities and movements.
A number of countries, including Wales and the Republic of Ireland, have recently been looking into integrating LGBT+ issues into school lessons to teach the next generation. In the UK, where the government is currently looking into updating the sex education curriculum to make it inclusive of LGBT+ issues and relationships, some schools are already teaching LGBT-inclusive classes.
Swinney said that the adoption of the working group’s recommendations will make Scotland “the first country in the world” to have LGBT+ inclusive education embedded within its curriculum.
The deputy first minister added: “Our education system must support everyone to reach their full potential. That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.
“The recommendations I have accepted will not only improve the learning experience of our LGBTI young people, they will also support all learners to celebrate their differences, promote understanding and encourage inclusion.”
LGBT+ education campaigners have welcomed the Scottish government’s decision.
“The implementation of LGBTI inclusive education across all state schools is a world first, and in a time of global uncertainty, this sends a strong and clear message to LGBTI young people that they are valued here in Scotland,” Jordan Daly, Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign co-founder, said in a statement.
“Education is one of the most vital tools we have to tackle bullying, prejudice and discrimination—and it shapes the fabric of our society. We now look forward to continuing our work with the Scottish Government as we progress towards full implementation,” Daly added.
Stonewall Scotland director Colin Macfarlane said: ‘’Today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work of young people, teachers, parents and campaigners from across Scotland’s LGBT organisations who have been calling for these much needed proposals for years. These proposals will change lives for the better.’’
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