Solidarity with the TIE Campaign

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Jackie Brock has spoken in support of the charity, which is facing horrific online abuse, and says it is vital that inclusive education continues in schools

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6th July 2020 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

Last week, TFN reported that organisers of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign has been receiving appalling homophobic abuse. In the wake of this, others in the sector have expressed their solidarity. I want to do the same – and explain why I believe TIE’s achievements and legacy will outlive the bigotry Jordan, Liam and their colleagues face.

Over the past four years TIE has been a vital partner in strengthening Children in Scotland’s understanding of homophobia’s impact on young people and families. Gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of LGBT discrimination has meant we’ve done our jobs better.

TIE was one of the organisations that spurred us to embark on our LGBT Charter of Rights work. We undertook training sessions and championed LGBT rights on our website, in our office, in our magazine, and through the national An Equal Future conference held in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland. This wasn’t a series of superficial ‘tick box’ initiatives – it involved real learning for all our staff.

Our progress in this was informed by TIE’s voice and values. Part of the organisation’s power lies in its ability to articulate equality and discrimination not as abstract ideas but as rooted in the reality of young people’s daily lives.

At our 2016 annual conference Jordan spoke about feeling suicidal following the homophobic bullying he’d experienced. I’ve thought often about the courage it took to talk about this – and the impact this degree of emotional honesty has had on everyone who has listened to Jordan tell his story.

This personal approach and willingness to be vulnerable has been central to TIE’s success. Jordan and Liam have visited hundreds of schools, putting a premium on the importance of listening and talking to individual young people about their experiences.

Jackie Brock

Jackie Brock

TIE’s achievement in persuading the Scottish Government to introduce LGBT-inclusive education across all state schools stems not from years of handsomely funded lobbying but a fast-paced volunteer-driven grassroots campaign. They’ve proven that sometimes authenticity and moral urgency make more of a difference than money. Their impact in terms of progressive policymaking and societal impact is one that the entire third sector should recognise, respect and support.

These are some of the reasons why everyone who has worked with them feels so aggrieved to hear about the abuse they’ve received. TIE’s work is about saving lives, changing attitudes and creating environments where young people feel free to be themselves. We make assumptions that these are ambitions shared by everyone across Scottish society but go online and we find that’s simply not true.

Despite this I still believe homophobia in Scotland is in retreat. Look back at the Section 28 campaign: it seems an absurd relic of another age. Look to the number of LGBT+ MSPs in our parliament. Our young people’s passionate belief in equality and rights has never been clearer. Driven by this, our schools are gradually becoming spaces where young people of any identity can express themselves safely and in solidarity with others.

As one of TIE’s leading campaigners said in TFN’s report, “There are generations of LGBT young people who deserve to have a better experience than many of us did.” Let’s keep supporting them to make that a reality.

Jackie Brock is chief executive of Children in Scotland