Sexuality in schools: LGBTI+ education campaign targets parliament

The campaign for an inclusive education which teaches about the range of human sexualities in school will relay personal stories of discrimination

HOPES that Scotland will reform its approaching to sexuality lessons have received a boost as the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) campaign has been given the opportunity to make its case to parliament.

The Tie campaign will make its presentation to the public petitions committee meeting at 10am on 27 October 2015. The presentation will in part be made up of testimony from people who have experienced discrimination and abuse because of their sexuality.

The committee has the power to publish recommendations, which could lead to further action on Tie's aim of statutory and diverse teaching of sexuality, same sex relationships and sexual health.

Tie co-founder Jordan Daly said: "It is encouraging that the Scottish Parliament has invited us to give evidence.

"It is not good enough that only some schools are offering a truly inclusive education and adopting a progressive outlook; in this day and age, no pupil - regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity - should feel marginalised or outcast. Our youth should be learning in an environment where they feel safe and accepted: unfortunately, this is just not the case for many LGBTI+ kids today," he added.

John Naples Campbell, an expert in LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] Education, said: "Young LGBTI students need to have their voices heard in school and until staff are trained to have the confidence to tackle homophobia in the classroom, then this campaign is a lifeline to many who face abuse on a daily basis.

"The fact the government are interested in hearing from the campaign is a step forward and I hope these steps continue until these voices are fully heard in and beyond the classroom," he added.

The Tie campaign, launched by Jordan Daily and Liam Stevenson , has secured the backing of many prominent campaigners including Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie and writer Alan Bissett and calls for a statutory education programme which presents a more diverse and realistic picture of sexuality, same sex relationships and sexual health to school pupils.

26 per cent of Scottish pupils from a sexual minority have attempted suicide, over half commit self-harm and 99 per cent deal with homophobic language in school, according to the 2012 Stonewall Scotland schools report .

The campaign is inviting people to send their stories and experiences as LGBTI+ students at school, or as people who have witnessed discrimination on grounds of sexual or gender orientation to a dedicated email address - stories@tiecampaign.co.uk - if they would like their own experiences to be aired in the Scottish parliament.

The public gallery is open for the occasion and tickets are available for free on the Scottish parliament from seven days in advance of the presentation to the committee on 27 October.

Picture courtesy of Tie campaign