Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) received homophobic comments in response to their campaign to combat homophobia in the Scottish education system.
A Glasgow-based LGBTQ+ charity has issued a statement concerning a series of homophobic comments and abusive messages that appeared on social media.
Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), a charity that combats homophobia in the Scottish education system, made a statement on Twitter in response to users who opposed the charity's campaign. The statement described the prejudice and fearmongering that was directed towards the charity and its members and contained images of the homophobic comments which were made in response to the charity’s tweets. The reoccurring theme among the responses was to conflate homosexuality with paedophilia and child abuse, and to compare the teaching of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender issues in schools to child-grooming and the promotion of pornography.
The charity was founded in 2015 and has achieved the backing of the Scottish Parliament, various trade unions, and influenced the Scottish government's decision to implement LGBTQ+ education into the national curriculum. The charity retains close links with the University of Glasgow, which has expressed support for their campaign in the past.
Jordan Daly, co-founder of TIE and a UofG alumnus, wrote on Twitter: "Being called paedophiles and groomers because we are an LGBT charity working in schools is entirely unacceptable – and we will not allow this to become the norm. We didn’t sacrifice five years of our lives to let homophobes & transphobes tarnish our work. Love will always win."
The images showed that the charity’s members were subject to threats of a personal nature. Rhiannon Spear, a Glasgow SNP councillor and chair of TIE, received threats of stalking. A picture of one of the co-founder’s child was used on the cover picture of a hateful Facebook group opposing the charity. The group’s name “#Lets protect our children” was accompanied by the tagline “Say no the indoctrination and sexualisation of children”. The Facebook page has since been removed.
The statement received a show of support and solidarity from other Twitter users with hundreds of comments condemning the homophobic messages as well as highlighting the importance of the TIE campaign.
“I just wish there had been a @tiecampaign when I was a kid. I might not have taken so long to come to terms with my sexuality & might have avoided years of pain & confusion. Their work is, for so many, a lifeline and life-saving. These attacks are horrible & totally unnecessary," commented Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston.
In 2018, the Scottish government announced that it would become the first country in the world to make LGBTQ+ issues embedded into the national curriculum. This means that state schools are required to teach students about non-heterosexual relationships, show greater inclusion and visibility of LGBTQ+ people and issues, and to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. While Scotland regularly ranks high among the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world, LGBTQ+ youth still experience issues such as bullying, homelessness and suicide at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ+ people, according to LGBT Youth Scotland.
TIE is not supported financially by the government and relies on donations and payments for the services they provide. In addition to campaigning, they provide schools with lessons and resources to challenge harmful stereotypes, promote positive wellbeing, and to foster more inclusive school environments for LGBT youth.
“We are strong people. We know that our work has a positive impact. These attacks are hurtful, but they will not deter us. There are generations of LGBT young people who deserve to have a better experience than many of us did. We will not let anyone take that from them.”