A step back for LGBTQ+ education

It has been revealed that the Western Isles have rejected the 2021 LGBTQ+ inclusive school curriculum and have opted for a Roman Catholic influenced form of teaching.

The decision was made after the Church of Scotland ministers in Lewis stated that some parents and teachers were upset about the new LGBTQ+ comprehensive education.

Rev Hugh Stewart stated that the LGBTQ+ curriculum would pressure children from Christian homes to embrace views that clash with their morals.

“It is one thing for a child or young person to be educated and objectively informed, it is another to require them to ’embrace’, which infers a tacit support for, a view that contradicts their own morality or faith position,” Stewart says.

Many members of the Western Isles community who supported the LGBTQ+ inclusive education, worry about how this decision will affect their children’s academic future.

A Hebrides LGBTQ+ Pride activist and concerned parent opened up to The Guardian about the decision stating: “I’m now facing the prospect of attempting to provide this education for my children myself at home.

“I’d much rather my kids be taught the Scottish government-approved RSHP curriculum at school, by a trained and qualified teacher.

“My anxiety over the RSHP decision is not just about how my children will be taught right now, it’s also a long-term concern about how they’ll be taught throughout their school year, both primary and in secondary,” they say.

Although the vote has passed, councillors that were opposed to the vote insist no permanent change is in the works, due to a policy that allows teachers to create a curriculum based on their judgement and local policy.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s education convenor Cllr Angus McCormack revealed his thoughts on the vote stating: “All these councillors are doing are expressing an opinion which is driven by their own personal beliefs.”

He continued: “There was a time when [public life] was very largely dominated by the church, but that’s no longer the case. I think that teachers will bring a realistic curriculum to their children and make sure that they’ve all the information that they need to live in our present-day world.”

Earlier this year Scotland announced that all public schools will receive lessons in issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community such as same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

“Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] equality,” he said in a statement.

“I am delighted to announce we will be the first country in the world to have LGBTI inclusive education embedded within the curriculum.”

According to Edinburgh Live back in November 2018, Scottish Ministers accepted the recommendations in full to deliver LGBTQ+ inclusive education to improve children’s understanding of the LGBTQ+ history.