David Mundell, secretary of state for Scotland, has given his backing to a campaign to have LGBT+ issues added to the curriculum and taught in schools
The first openly gay Tory cabinet minister has backed a call for LGBT+ issues to be taught in Scottish schools.
Secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell, gave his backing to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), saying that while he had the support of his family and colleagues when he came out in January this year, he is aware that many school pupils still face homophobic bullying on a daily basis.
Mundell is the latest politician to back the proposal which TIE says will go a long way to tackling high rates of bullying among LGBT+ youth.
Many LGBTI young people still face homophobia and bullying on a daily basis
Just last month, TIE published a report last month which found that 90% of LGBT+ people experience homophobia while at school, and 27% reported that they had attempted suicide once due to being bullied.
Speaking today, Mundell said: “Because of the support I had from family, friends and colleagues, coming out as a gay man has been an incredibly positive experience for me. But many LGBTI young people still face homophobia and bullying on a daily basis.
“This is not acceptable and cannot be ignored. That is why I am supporting the TIE campaign - to tackle prejudice and spread understanding in our schools, giving LGBTI young people equality and respect, which is their right.”
A TIE spokesperson said: "We are delighted that David Mundell has supported our campaign, and has joined us in calling for an end to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools.
“His endorsement is significant as, while we are a Scottish campaign, we know that the issues facing LGBTI young people within education are universal.
“David is the first UK minister to back our proposals, and we are keen to work closely with the Scotland Office as we move to address these issues at a nationwide level.”
Campaigners from TIE recently met with education secretary John Swinney and provided him with their proposals for LGBT+ issues, such as same-sex families and the history of the LGBT+ rights movement, to be included in curricular guidance and for teachers to be trained on how to address the topic in the classroom.
However, the Scottish Government has faced criticism from Holyrood opposition benches for its lack of movement since then, with Conservative MSP Annie Wells accusing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of paying “lip service” to the campaign during a recent chamber debate.
Last month, TIE took its case to the equalities and human rights committee of the Scottish Parliament, where it expressed concerns over the Scottish Government's current approach to tackling homophobia in schools.
Afterwards, Swinney wrote to the committee and agreed to delay the publication to allow time for more discussions on it.