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7 December 2016, 06:35
A leading human rights lawyer is backing a campaign for inclusive education in a bid to stamp out discrimination in Scotland's schools.
Aamer Anwar is urging the Scottish Government to take steps to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, in order to ''save the lives'' of young people.
It comes as part of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign for a government commitment for mandatory teaching of LGBTI issues to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scottish schools.
Mr Anwar, recently named Solicitor of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland, said: ''In our streets, communities, workplaces and schools, LGBTI people face attacks, rape, bullying, stabbings, abuse and discrimination. 90% of LGBTI people face homophobia at school, with over a quarter actually trying to take their own life at some point.
''As a nation we like to consider ourselves tolerant, but as long as young Scots continue to take their own lives because of their sexuality, then equality will remain a soundbite and sexual apartheid the reality.
''If we really want all of our children to feel valued and loved, then the Scottish Government and all political parties must follow through on their tremendous support for the TIE campaign to date, with real practical steps which will make a difference and save lives.''
The move comes as campaigners from TIE prepare to present their case to MSPs at Holyrood.
Mr Anwar added: ''Every individual regardless of their sexual orientation has the right to live free from violence, without fear of humiliation or abuse based on prejudice; but if we truly believe that, then we really need all of our schools to challenge the culture of silence around LGBTI issues.
''When I say all schools - that must include religious schools, as there can be no opt out - no matter how politically inconvenient it may be.''