Government must tackle LGBT discrimination in schools

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has today highlighted research suggesting that almost half of LGBT pupils in Scotland's schools are bullied and called on the Scottish Government to press ahead with measures to ensure that staff have the training and resources to tackle the issues faced by Scotland's LGBT pupils.

The research from Stonewall reveals that

  • nearly half of LGBT pupils (48 per cent) – including 71 per cent of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBT in Scotland’s schools. 
  • LGBT young people in Scotland are more likely to hear homophobic language than the rest of Britain, with 63 per cent hearing homophobic slurs ‘regularly’ or ‘often’ in Scotland compared to just 50 per cent in the rest of Britain.
  • The report also shows that LGBT young people continue to have alarming rates of poor mental health. Nearly all trans young people in Scotland (96 per cent) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (58 per cent). 

Responding to the research, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: 

"I'm very proud to live in country with so many talented and prominent LGBT voices but these figures show that there is a long way to go to tackle LGBT discrimination in schools. 

"Groups such as Stonewall and the Time for Inclusive Education campaign are doing vital research. It would be letting these campaigners and the wider LGBT community down if the Scottish Government did not heed this work.

"Alongside expanding mental health support in schools, the Scottish Government should bring forward legislation in the current parliament, which makes it a requirement for schools to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through an inclusive educational approach. This would be a proactive way to tackle the appalling discrimination face by LGBT pupils." 

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