Scotland Becomes The First Country In The World To Add LGBTQ+ History To School Curriculum

In the past few decades, the LGBTQ community has been very successful in the fight for their rights. Their efforts to show the rest of the world that they should be accepted and treated as equal citizens in the community keep paying off.

Yet, not always, and not everywhere, individuals who do not conform to a binary model of gender and sexual identity are accepted and understood by society.

Now, Scotland intends to include LGBTQI history in the school curriculum and thus make a large step toward combating homophobia. It is the first country to make such an effort worldwide.

The LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) community has been fighting with violence, oppression, discrimination, and persecution for centuries.

Yet, this shift is a result of a years-long work by activists and organizations that have fought for equality and rights for all people around the world.

However, discrimination, hate, and violence are still present, so we have a long way to go before full equality and acceptance is achieved. The LGBTQI community was rarely supported by an organization before the scientific and political revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first gay liberation movement started in Berlin in 1897, and in the early 20th century, several gay militant organizations were created throughout Europe, in Sweden, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands.

In 1951, in Amsterdam, the International Committee for Sexual Equality (ICSE), which demanded rights for homosexual men and women, was founded, and less than a decade later, in 1960, the Homosexual Law Reform Society in the United Kingdom started to work towards the decriminalization of same-sex relationships.

The Gay Liberation Front in the United States was an inspiration for the formation of several groups, and in 1993, homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the last 150 years, LGBTQI activism has won numerous battles, and in the 21st century, the acronym LGBTQI was adopted, too, which represents the inclusion of the trans and intersex movements.

Scotland has first recognized the need for better education of the history of sexual minority groups.

The curriculum is expected to be fully implemented in the schools by 2021, and it will involve lessons on the history of the LGBTQI community. It will also address problems like homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

It all started in 2018, when Scottish ministers accepted all recommendations by members of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, which fought to put an end on the “destructive legacy” of a piece of legislation called Section 28.

This amendment to the Local Government Act of 1988 prohibited schools and authorities to promote homosexuality.

While it has been repealed in 2001, and 2003 in the UK, its implications have remained present.

The movement was led by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, a charity and campaigning group whose goal is to address issues of LGBTQIA+ visibility within the Scottish education system.

TIE co-founder Jordan Daly said:

“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.” 

In Scotland, a same-sex civil partnership has been legal since 2005, and same-sex marriage from 2014. From 2009, same-sex couples can adopt and foster kids.

In 2010, discrimination based on gender and sexuality has been banned.

According to deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney, Scotland has already been one of the progressive countries for LGBTQI equality, and he said he was happy that it has now become the first to have LGBTQI education embedded in the curriculum.

A Stonewall study, conducted in 2017, showed that 40% of LGBT students were never taught anything about LGBT issues.

All LGBTQI history has been absent in the classroom, and LGBTQI students have been exposed to bullying and discrimination, and have repeatedly faced a lack of support from teachers and staff.

Paul Twocock, interim executive chief at Stonewall, says:

“Inclusive education helps to create inclusive communities. Building a more welcoming society requires building bridges between diverse groups. If all schools teach acceptance – no exceptions – then that would be a good first step to healing some of the division that we’ve seen in society over the past decade.” 

He added:

“LGBT-inclusive education is life-changing teaching for so many young people, which is why it’s so powerful to see so much of the British public support the new legislation.

We owe it to the next generation to ensure our schools are a place where all children and young people can be themselves.

It’s essential the Government invests more in training and resources to better prepare teachers and schools to deliver high-quality LGBT-inclusive teaching now and in the future.”