Due to the work of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, Scotland will introduce issues of LGBTQIA+ visibility within the national education system.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
Almost two years ago, Scottish Ministers accepted in full recommendations to embed LGBTQIA+-inclusive education to the national school curriculum. Now, the country has finally implemented the suggestions into education policy. By the 2021 academic year, all schools will be expected to implement the new curriculum in their classrooms. Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney announced the decision earlier this week, Glamour Magazine reports. The movement was led by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, a charity and campaigning group which has a stated aim of addressing issues of LGBTQIA+ visibility within the Scottish education system.
Jordan Daly, the co-founder of TIE, stated of the policy move, "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." The group was founded in June 2015 and has been working on transforming the education policy for several years now. They also called for an end to the "destructive legacy" of section 28, a 1988 law that banned local authorities in the United Kingdom from "promoting" homosexuality. The legislation was officially repealed in Scotland in 2001 and in the rest of the UK in 2003, but school curricula had not been changed.
As a result of their dedicated campaigning, Scotland will ensure all public schools teach lessons about LGBTQIA+ issues and history. The subject matter of these lessons is expected to include topics such as tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and the history of LGBTQIA+ movements. Over the next few months, educators will see what the new lesson plans look like. Education Secretary Swinney said, "Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] equality. I am delighted to announce we will be the first country in the world to have LGBTI inclusive education embedded within the curriculum."
In England and Wales, same-sex marriage was legalized in March 2014 through The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act of 2013. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act of 2014 came into force to allow same-sex marriage in December 2014. Northern Ireland only recently legalized same-sex marriage, passing a law this January. Though schools were closed owing to the ongoing public health crisis, they are scheduled to reopen fully with no physical distancing in August if the virus is suppressed. TIE continues to do good work on-ground, including providing school inputs and training seminars to improve inclusivity in education. Though temporarily suspending owing to the pandemic, seminars will pick back up once schools reopen.