Scouts Scotland is supporting calls for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues to be taught in all schools across Scotland.
The organisation, the largest co-educational youth movement in Scotland, is backing the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, for the introduction of LGBT-inclusive education into all Scottish schools to tackle high rates of homophobic and transphobic bullying.
Young people from Scouts Scotland, which has over 50,000 members, will join campaigners and TIE representatives outside the Scottish Parliament this afternoon to support the proposal.
The campaign published a report last year which found 90 per cent of LGBT people experience homophobia at school, while 27 per cent reported they had attempted suicide due to being bullied.
The Scottish Government recently launched a national working group to take forward TIE’s proposals after a majority of MSPs signed the campaign’s strategy pledge, which includes calls for teacher training and new legislation on the issue.
Scout Network Member Kerry Simpson, 19, said that not every young person had a positive experience when they revealed their sexual orientation.
“I have always found Scouting to be a very welcoming environment where leaders encouraged us to be ourselves. When I came out in Scouting I was immediately accepted.
“Sadly, not all schools are so welcoming and supportive of LGBT young people. We support the TIE Campaign, which aims to ensure LGBT issues are taught within schools – to help all young people to feel included and respected.”
17-year-old Explorer Scout Oscar Hazelwood said: “As a Scout we learn to respect everyone and learn from each other. We want to challenge inequality and bullying when we see it and make sure that everyone is valued for who they are.”
A TIE spokesman said: “Receiving the support of Scouts Scotland marks a very significant step forward for our campaign.
“That one of the largest youth movement’s in Scotland has wholeheartedly endorsed our calls for LGBT education in schools reaffirms what we already know – that there is wide support across Scotland for the educational experience to be LGBT-inclusive.
“Our ethos of equality and inclusivity aligns with that of Scouts Scotland, and we look forward to working closely together to ensure all LGBT young people are safe and supported at school.”