Decision makers sat on their hands while children died


Liam Stevenson of Time For Inclusive Education on their fight for justice for LGBT+ young people.

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30th March 2016 by TFN Guest 2 Comments

Almost a year ago, with no previous experience, I co-founded  co-founded  Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) - a campaign that is calling for LGBT+ inclusive education in all Scottish schools, in an attempt to tackle LGBT-phobia and it’s alarming consequences - such as one in four LGBT+ young people having attempted suicide as a result of bullying.

Recently, the SNP backed our proposals at their Spring Conference, and a manifesto commitment to ensure that schools are inclusive of LGBT+ is expected over the coming weeks, ultimately meaning that the next government should be the one to step up to the mark and get serious about tackling LGBT-phobia within schools.

This didn’t come easy though - TIE is completely unfunded: we have no corporate backers and no government grants; our campaign, thus far, has been self funded - with any donations being used to cover the cost of LGBT+ training courses for teachers. We began with nothing but some friendly media connections, a pasting table to set up stall, some flyers and a drive for change.

It is clear to me that the reason we have taken this issue so far and shaped the narrative in this field in such a short time is because of our campaigning style. 

Liam Stevenson

Liam Stevenson

Get straight to the point; don’t be cute - tell the truth, shame those responsible, grab the issue and shape the debate

We have, from the beginning, been very direct - our language blunt and to the point. We had no qualms in accusing decision makers of sitting on their hands whilst young children committed suicide; we shamed the government by publicly crowd funding to cover the cost of teacher training ourselves and we have always put the personal stories of those who have been directly impacted by the climate of heterosexism in Scottish schools at the forefront of our campaign. 

Whilst we publicly pushed the issue in the media and generated debate around LGBT+ inclusive education; behind the scenes, we were tabling motions with various national trade unions and securing the support of as many people as we could. Building connections with different organisers and movements is pivotal for any unfunded grassroots campaign - launching TIE would have been much more difficult without the help of Common Weal, for example.

The fact that we have no corporate stakeholders or government funding is one of our biggest assets - it has allowed us to steer the narrative and go further than any organisation or campaign in this field has before: we can say what the others can’t, because we have no strings and no income to protect. Sometimes, you need radicalism, as comfort zones are often difficult to vacate.

My advice to any fresh campaign tackling a hard issue would be to get straight to the point; don’t be cute - tell the truth, shame those responsible, grab the issue and shape the debate. Eventually, pressure will mount and support will grow to a point whereby you can no longer be ignored. 

At the SNP conference, I said that “the children of tomorrow must be allowed to grow up without the prejudices of today” - that is why, until our education system is fully inclusive of LGBT+ identities, we will continue with our campaign. 

1st April 2016 by Alan

Fair play to the campaign for staying independent. The issue itself, however, needs as much light as the heat it already generates.Mark McCormack's book, The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality, tests the premise of TIE. I only heard about the report when listening to Peter McGraith on Radio Scotland. McGraith is fairly radical gay activist and not a patsy of anyone's establishment.The point is, I think, that well-gathered evidence is important in developing policy and changing practice.

11th April 2016 by Stephen O'Donnell

You have no idea what Inclusive Education is and clearly cannot draw a distinction between the idea of social inclusion and the idea of educational inclusion (accepting principles of physical and cognitive(curricular ) accessibility in education). This means changing the pitch, pedagogy, resources used and even disciplinary procedures to provide a meaningful education to as broad a range of children as is possible.If what you are doing does not fall into step with this please change the name of the programme so we can be clear on what it is and what it is not?TIE is another attempt to socially indoctrinate children into accepting the narrative of a self interest group. Schools can create their own curricular materials to deal with bullying issues.