Religious leader calls for an end to homophobia in schools

Kelvin Holdsworth
Kelvin Holdsworth

 

A Scottish Episcopal priest has called for an end to homophobia in schools and has publicly endorsed the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign.

The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth, the provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, has spoken of the need for fully inclusive education in Scotland’s schools.

TIE has been campaigning for the Scottish Government to adopt a new approach to tackling homophobic bullying within the education system and has been calling for all teachers to be trained on how to discuss LGBTI issues in their classrooms.

After meeting with campaigners, Mr Holdsworth said: “I am happy to endorse the TIE campaign. The next step towards removing homophobia from Scotland is to bring in fully inclusive education for every pupil in Scotland’s schools.

“LGBTI teachers need to feel safe to teach in every school in the land and Scotland’s kids need the whole curriculum to be inclusive of LGBTI role models and their experiences.”

The move comes as a lengthy national debate regarding LGBTI inclusion in schools is underway. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously voiced her support for TIE and is committed to working with the campaign to create a more inclusive system of education.

Mr Holdsworth made his statement on the same day that the Sunday Herald published an article whose headline claimed a “new ‘Section 28′ Culture War Battle [has broken] out between Christians and Progressives over teaching of LBGTI issues in schools”. The attempted characterisation of Christians as inherently anti-progress is something Holdsworth, and some commentators on the Herald piece, reject as not only inaccurate but reinforcing outdated stereotypes.

A TIE spokesperson said: “We are thrilled that the Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth has backed our campaign – he joins a long and diverse list of supporters in doing so. We are keen to break down the perceived barrier that being of faith and believing in the advancement of LGBTI rights are mutually exclusive – they are not, and should not be seen as such.

“When there are young LGBTI people self harming, attempting suicide and facing mental health issues due to prejudiced based bullying at school, it is more important than ever that people from all sections of society join us as we continue to campaign for our Government to tackle this problem.”

The TIE campaign has attracted a swathe of support for it’s cause, with notable backers including actress Emma Thompson, Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie MSP and SNP MP Mhairi Black.

During the Scottish Parliamentary elections this year, all of the five major parties included TIE’s teacher training proposals in their election manifestos.

This year’s Glasgow Pride parade, which will take place on 20th August, is themed around TIE and is expected to see tens of thousands marching in support of the campaign.

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