LGBTI education in Scottish schools: Inspiration for Europe and the world

, by Giovana Faria, Translated by David Reichmuth

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LGBTI education in Scottish schools: Inspiration for Europe and the world
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A number of debates concerning issues such as LGBTI rights, feminism and combatting racism have only recently gained importance. Sadly, not everyone is willing to discuss these matters, and to view them as normal and of significance for the development of society. Even if the results and consequences of these discussions may take a long time yet to become apparent, they should not be abandoned. Let’s have a look at the example of Scotland.

According to a report in The Guardian, Scotland will be the first country in the world to include teaching LGBTI – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual – community rights in school curricula. The representatives of the “Time for Inclusive Education” campaign are celebrating this historic moment, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney proudly announced the decision and emphasised that the “education system must support everyone to reach their full potential”.

Though globalisation plays its role for peaceful cohabitation, it is not always easy to reconcile different opinions, as people from all across the world hail from various ideologies. Yet Scotland’s initiative on this matter may embolden other nations to follow the same route, or at least consider the possibilities. Katie Williams (24), Scottish women’s rights activist and student of journalism, attested to the importance of the decision:

We have just celebrated Trans Memorial Day (November 20th), a day on which we honour and remember those that have died in Scotland due to homophobia or suicide. Although I do not understand why someone would take their, or another’s, life, I believe it is important to foster an understanding for and acceptance of differences at a young age. All in all, I think that Scotland and the world still have a long path ahead – some more so than others – but I hope that the next generation will make big strides forward thanks to this new educational measure.

Brazil, for instance, tends towards a more conservative than progressive view on such issues. The recently elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, is fighting any debate on questions surrounding LGBTI and even sexuality in the classroom. When considering the current situation in some European countries, such as Italy or Austria which are increasingly often governed by right-wing parties, it is difficult to imagine a future that is as revolutionary as the current Scottish education policy. As noted above, it may take some time until the new curricula yield results, but we must never stop striving for the inclusion and equality of all.

This article was originally published on our sister edition Treffpunkt Europa on 27 November 2018.

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