Scotland just made LGBTIQ+ history, finally putting Thatcher’s ‘destructive’ Section 28 legacy to bed

Gay Pride Flag LGBTQ+
Brian Finlay

Scotland’s schools will now “formally recognise” LGBTIQ+ issues as part of the curriculum. As the BBC reports, the Scottish government will support state schools to teach “LGBTI equality and inclusion”.

The announcement

The Scottish deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for education John Swinney announced the historic change at Holyrood on 8 November.

And the Scottish government tweeted:

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The TIE campaign, which has campaigned for LGBTIQ+ inclusive change in education since 2015, was understandably pleased:

And MSPs from across the political spectrum celebrated the “historic day”:

The government has adopted 33 recommendations from the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group.

Swinney claims the move is a world first.

LGBTIQ+ inclusivity

The deputy first minister said:

Our education system must support everyone to reach their full potential. That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.

The recommendations I have accepted will not only improve the learning experience of our LGBTI young people, they will also support all learners to celebrate their differences, promote understanding and encourage inclusion.

But the Christian Institution raised concerns. The group’s deputy director Simon Calvert told the BBC:

maths lessons should be about maths, not LGBT politics… There is already a great deal of emphasis on LGBT issues in schools.

TIE campaign co-founder Jordan Daly hailed the announcement as a “monumental victory”.

He said:

The implementation of LGBTI inclusive education across all state schools is a world first, and in a time of global uncertainty, this sends a strong and clear message to LGBTI young people that they are valued here in Scotland…

Education is one of the most vital tools we have to tackle bullying, prejudice and discrimination – and it shapes the fabric of our society.

He added:

Eighteen years from the repeal of Section 28, we can finally put its destructive legacy to bed.

Thatcher’s ‘destructive’ Section 28

At the 1987 Conservative Party conference, then prime minister Margaret Thatcher made this speech:

She believed that children were being taught they had an “inalienable” right to be gay. Thatcher felt children were not learning “traditional moral values”. And so her government enacted Section 28 in May 1988.

The clause in the Local Government Act 1988 was only two hundred words long. But it would impact upon millions of British people’s education.

The clause states that local authorities:

shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.

And could not:

promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.

Thatcher silenced discussion about the LGBTIQ+ community in British classrooms. But Section 28 was “abolished” in Scotland in June 2000. And the rest of the UK repealed it in November 2003.

The Scottish government’s actions in adopting LGBTIQ+ inclusive education will finally put Thatcher’s legacy to bed.

Twitter reaction

Many took to Twitter to welcome the news and express their joy.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote:

The Scottish Green Party said:

And Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard tweeted:

Glasgow City Council also shared the news:

And the TIE Campaign shared a quote from Dame Emma Thompson:

Let’s educate to liberate

Let us hope it’s the beginning of change, throughout the UK and the wider world. A fully inclusive and rounded education will break down barriers and end bigotry.

Get Involved!

– The Canary invites its readers to question everything they read – so please follow the links we reference and please support us.

Follow and TIE Campaign on Twitter and share their posts.

Contact your MP to suggest similar changes across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

– Support an LGBTIQ+ charity such as Stonewall and Scottish Trans Alliance.

Featured image via Ludovic Bertron/Wiki Commons

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