Scotland will become the first country in the world to have "LGBTI-inclusive education" embedded in the curriculum, education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney has told the Scottish Parliament.
The move was backed by all parties and described by one political rival, Labour’s Monica Lennon, as a "monumental" victory for those who campaigned for the changes announced this afternoon.
There were also reminders, however, that much work remains to be done to overcome the "shocking" treatment that many LGBTI students face. Recent research has suggested that Scottish education still has a long way to go in this area.
All state schools will now receive support to teach LGBTI equality and inclusion across age groups and subjects, and training will be accessible to all teachers. This follows a survey in September that suggested that guidance and pastoral care staff were struggling to cope with an "astronomical" workload.
Mr Swinney said: "Scotland is already considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI equality. I am delighted to announce we will be the first country in the world to have LGBTI-inclusive education embedded within the curriculum."
Jordan Daly, co-founder of TIE (Time for Inclusive Education) campaign, which was the driving force behind the changes, said: "After three years of campaigning, we are delighted that LGBTI-inclusive education will now become a reality in all of Scotland's state schools. This is a monumental victory for our campaign and a historic moment for our country.
“The implementation of LGBTI-inclusive education across all state schools is a world first and, in a time of global uncertainty, this sends a strong and clear message to LGBTI young people that they are valued here in Scotland.
"Eighteen years [on] from the repeal of Section 28 [which had prohibited the promotion in schools of the acceptability of homosexuality], we can finally put its destructive legacy to bed."
Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton suggested that teachers in faith schools might still find it a struggle to promote LGBTI-inclusive education.
Mr Swinney stressed that the changes announced today applied to all state schools, including faith schools.
Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said: "The Catholic Church welcomes any recommendations that will help to ensure that pupils and school staff are properly equipped to challenge and eradicate prejudiced-based bullying within schools and wider society."
Colin Macfarlane, director of lesbian, gay, bi and trans rights charity Stonewall Scotland, said the proposals would "ensure every LGBT young person has an education that reflects and celebrates diversity", and would give teachers access to better resources and training to support LGBT young people.
He added: "Today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work of young people, teachers, parents and campaigners from across Scotland’s LGBT organisations, who have been calling for these much-needed proposals for years. These proposals will change lives for the better."