Pupils stand up to homophobia

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Just before the Christmas holidays, LGBT Youth Scotland visited Galashiels Academy and held various assemblies for different year groups, telling us what they do.

LGBT Youth Scotland is an organisation which offers services for young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Its current campaign is ‘Challenging Homophobia Together’ and as part of this S6 pupils have set up an advisory group in the school which has made much progress.

At the Christmas celebrations, same sex-couples danced together quite happily and without anybody making a fuss.

To gain an insight into what problems LGBT young people have had at school, the group visited the local youth group. Also, a few members managed to get interviewed for WIRED, a show on Radio Borders aimed at young people.

However, the biggest achievement for the group is the addition of a peer education option for Tuesday afternoon periods. This will be available for the timetable beginning after the summer. It will continue the work this year’s S6 students and also reach down the year groups, possibly teaching SE classes.

The changes the group has made to the school are so impressive that members were asked to make a presentation at the Developing Global Citizens conference in Stirling, organised by Learning Teaching Scotland.

Alex Cass and myself attended the event which was a great opportunity to showcase what’s been done in Galashiels Academy and tell pupils and staff from other schools across the country how they can take action in challenging homophobia.

Everyone who we talked to were astounded by all the changes we’d managed to make in our school and were quite ready to use some of our ideas with their own students.

– Taylor Mulholland