Mhairi Black calls for LGBT lessons in schools

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Outspoken MP lends her support to campaign as hopes grow that Scotland could become first country in Europe to approve teaching of LGBT+ issues

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20th July 2016 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

One of the most high profile SNP MPs has endorsed a campaign for LGBT+ issues to be taught in all Scottish schools.

Mhairi Black, who came to the foreground when she tore into the Conservative party in her maiden speech in the House of Commons, has spoken in support of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign.

Black, who is openly gay, backs the call for teachers to be trained in how to deliver LGBT+ education in an effort to tackle high rates of mental health, self-harm and suicide amongst LGBT+ young people.

She said: “We need to ensure that LGBTI people leave school knowing that there is nothing wrong with who they are, so that they can progress through life confident in their identity.

We need to ensure that LGBTI people leave school knowing that there is nothing wrong with who they are

“I support the TIE campaign wholeheartedly.”

Black’s support comes following the unanimous passing of a resolution in support of TIE at the SNP’s spring conference this year, committing the party to rolling out the group’s proposals for inclusive education to be common-practice in every school during their time in government.

A TIE spokesman said: “We are delighted that someone as influential as Mhairi has endorsed our campaign, and she joins a growing list of diverse supporters in doing so.

“We hope that her decision to stand up for the many LGBTI young people who are struggling within an education system which excludes them will encourage other parliamentarians to do the same.” 

Throughout this year’s Scottish Parliament election, every major political party had included manifesto commitments endorsing the group’s calls for teachers from all schools to received specific training on how to challenge homophobia and discuss LGBT+ issues in the classroom.

During a chamber debate on equality last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon restated her pledge to work with the campaigners to ensure LGBT+ identities and issues are included within school curricula.

She said: “I don’t want to live in a country, yet alone be first minister of a country, where any young person has to feel that, somehow, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are subject to judgement or made to feel in any way less than any other individual in our society.”

This week, the state board of education in California unanimously approved the teaching of LGBT+ history in schools by law. If Scotland follows suit by adopting TIE’s proposals, it would become the first country in Europe to do so.

Hopes have been lifted in the rest of the UK due to the recent appointment of Justine Greening MP as the secretary of state for education, who is openly gay and has indicated her support for LGBT+ inclusion in schools in the past.

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