Three former Rangers players announce support for schools to teach LGBTI issues.

“I know that LGBTI young people often feel isolated and excluded. School should be the best time of a young person’s life, but this often isn’t the case if they identify as LGBTI and that isn’t good enough. Society has made progress on equality, but we have to do more and we have to start making things better for LGBTI youth at school. That’s why I am supporting the TIE Campaign: to send a message to young people that it’s not cool to be homophobic or transphobic and to join the call for LGBTI inclusive education in all of our schools.” – Gary McSwegan

Gary McSwegan, Bobby Russell and Dougie Bell have backed calls for the Time for Inclusive Education to be taught in order to tackle homophobic bullying, STV News report.

The TFIC say that despite the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender community making fundamental contributions to society, history, literature and culture many LGBT people are still subject to discrimination, abuse and hostility on a daily basis. They note that while Scotland has made considerable progress in the advancement of equality, the education system has failed to catch up.

Time for Inclusive Education also note that their research reveals that teachers have highlighted that they do not feel they have been adequately trained on how to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Many in education are unsure of their rights and feel more needs to be done.

Their findings conclude that 90% of LGBT respondents to their research reported experiencing a negative reaction to their sexuality while at school while 64% said they had been bullied because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 86% added that LGBT issues were never discussed or spoken of in a progressive manner at their school. A number of participants highlighted a lack of LGBT inclusive debate during sex education.

It comes as research from the campaign group showed nine out of ten lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) pupils reported experiencing homophobia at school.

Only 5% of respondents to the research believed their teachers were adequately equipped to discuss LGBT issues in the classroom, while 72% reported that bullying due to sexuality or gender orientation was not challenged by staff in their schools. 27% said they had attempted suicide after bullying about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gary McSwegan, who now works in the care industry, played for Rangers between 1986 and 1993 while Bobby Russell joined Rangers in 1977 leaving after a decade. He is reported by STV News as noting LGBT issues can be improved via education;

“It is time to stamp out prejudice and that can be achieved if we educate our kids about LGBTI issues. Young people should feel free to be who they are without fear of bullying.”

The broadcaster went on to note that the ‘Scottish Government recently launched a joint working-group with TIE and other stakeholders, which has been tasked with making recommendations to Ministers as to how the group’s proposals can be implemented.’ adding ‘In February, the Scottish Parliament became the first in Europe to support LGBTI inclusive education after a majority of MSPs signed TIE’s campaign pledge.’

The third supporter of the cause is previous Ibrox player Dougie Bell, who was with Rangers between 1985 and 1987, he told STV News:

“”Homophobia remains a problem in many schools across the country and I am eager to see LGBTI inclusive education in all schools – as it would transform the lives of LGBTI young people.”

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