90% of LGBT pupils suffer abuse at school says new Tie campaign report

Report shows damaging effect of homophobic abuse on lives of pupils, ex-pupils and school life in Scotland

90 PER CENT of LGBT respondents reported that they had experienced homophobia while at school, according to a new report by the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) campaign.

The report which has exposed the impact of homophobic bullying as part of it campaign for awareness LGBT issues to be taught in all Scottish schools, also showed that 64 per cent said that they had been directly bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Up to 800 school pupils, former pupils and teachers took part in the study which focused on the high rates of bullying, self harming, attempted suicide, and a range of mental health issues among LGBT young people.

"Our research also shows that the Scottish government's current strategy of issuing guidance on LGBT to schools without a mandated requirement of uptake is not working." Tie

A Tie spokesperson said: "Sixteen years since the repeal of Section 28, our research highlights the very real issues facing LGBT learners within Scottish education, and emphasises the need for action.

"There is a culture of silence around LGBT in most classrooms across the country, and we should not be satisfied until all schools are fully inclusive of LGBT issues and identities in order to ensure that all of our young people can thrive and achieve their full potential in a safe and supportive learning environment.

"Our research also shows that the Scottish government's current strategy of issuing guidance on LGBT to schools without a mandated requirement of uptake is not working.

"The issue here is that there is absolutely no requirement for schools to deliver upon any LGBT inclusive guidance such as RSHP education, and we are clear that this has to be addressed. Indeed, 79 per cent of teachers agree with us that LGBT inclusive education should be a legislative requirement for all schools."

Momentum for required teaching on homophobia in schools has grown since Tie’s launch last year covered by CommonSpace, with key Scottish political figures supporting the campaign, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie MSP and Mhairi Black MP.

At Glasgow Pride this year several SNP MPs joined with the campaign and pledged their firm support for teacher support and training to tackle homophobia in Scottish schools. 

While the report has highlighted that LGBT young people are struggling at school, 80 per cent of teachers said that they have not been adequately trained on how to address LGBT issues and tackle homophobia in schools.

"This report shows, we still have a long way to go to foster that inclusive spirit across society, celebrating our diversity and differences, and maintaining the positive and welcoming spirit that Scotland is known for internationally." Angela Crawley

Speaking to CommonSpace, Angela Crawley SNP MP and women's and equalities officer for the party, said: "I don’t want to live in 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.

"We need to ensure that LGBT+ people leave school knowing that they can be whoever they want to be and love whoever they want to love and progress through life confident in themselves.

"We have come a long way in recent years, with equal marriage, and the SNP Government's commitment to equality for the transgender community.

"However, as this report shows, we still have a long way to go to foster that inclusive spirit across society, celebrating our diversity and differences, and maintaining the positive and welcoming spirit that Scotland is known for internationally."

Picture courtesy of TIE

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