A Scottish Father has kick-started a fundraiser in support of tackling homophobia in schools, as he tells of his fears for his son’s future within the education system.
Glasgow resident Neil Dallimore, 33, plans to walk 96 miles along the West Highland Way – from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William in the Scottish highlands – and is seeking public donations for his efforts, in order to raise funds for campaign group Time for Inclusive Education (TIE).
TIE are calling for LGBTI issues to be taught in all Scottish schools in an effort to tackle high rates of mental health, self harm and suicide amongst LGBTI young people.
Dallimore has an 11 year old son who recently told him that he was gay but asked for it be kept a secret from his school teachers because he feared that he would be “treated differently”.
“To hear your child ask that a part of his identity not be known to elders that are there to educate, protect and support him is a gut punch. His reason was simple enough – another boy had been open about his sexuality last year and afterward the teachers treated him differently in a negative way.
Too often I hear stories from my kids about how they’ve either been the target of or personally witnessed homophobic bullying and it’s a problem that few teachers have seemed to know how to handle. It’s worrying and upsetting to see your child treated like an outsider by other children based on sexuality and it must change.”
Despite it being 16 years since Section 28 was repealed in Scotland, there has been little progress towards eradicating homophobia in the playground. Now, Dallimore intends to address this head-on by supporting TIE’s calls for LGBTI inclusion within schools.
“What TIE are doing that gives me hope, is making sure that – if nothing else – when children go to school, no matter who they are, no matter what they hear hateful people say, they will have an enlightened place, a safe place and they will know that they are equal, natural and loved.”
During this year’s parliamentary election, every major political party had included manifesto commitments endorsing TIE’s calls for teachers from all schools to received specific training on how to challenge homophobia and discuss LGBTI issues in the classroom.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who has described herself as a “huge supporter” of the group – restated her pledge to work with the campaigners during a parliamentary debate on LGBTI equality last month.
This article is by Time For Inclusive Education