Pupils mortified after book claiming gay sex is a ‘sin’ is used in Catholic high school

Canal Ward Labour Councillor and Glasgow teacher, Fiona Higgins.

A Catholic high school in Glasgow has been criticised for using a book that contains chapters claiming being gay is a sin.

At a council meeting last week, Scottish Labour councillor Fiona Higgins, who is also a teacher, expressed her concerns about materials that “oppose” LGBTQ+ rights being used at the school.

Referring to one school, which she refused to name, Higgins said: “The Called to Love curriculum which teaches Catholic values, much of which are very commendable, still includes chapters on how marriage should be between a man and a woman and how homosexuality is a sin.”

The Called to Love programme was developed to provide “appropriate” teaching materials for Catholic secondary schools, with a focus on Christian vision and Church teachings, the Scottish Catholic Education Service’s website states. 

Higgins, who represents the Canal ward, added that the book had “caused upset to a number of my pupils”, according to the Glasgow Times. 

She stated that she had refused to teach the chapter to her classes, but was aware pupils would look through the book and see it, adding that the content was concerning and opposed to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), and city council, values.

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“It is worth reviewing that,” she said.

‘Ongoing dialogue is really important’

TIE is Scotland’s LGBTQ+-inclusive education charity that works to eradicate bullying and ensure LGBTQ+ history is taught in schools. 

A council officer responded to Higgins to confirm that they are working with “headteachers and school communities to encourage the usage of appropriate material”. 

Higgins said: “You want to respect the values of the school and respect religion which is a protected characteristic,” adding that sex, gender and sexuality are protected characteristics under the 2010 Equality Act. 

In 2021, a book calling for gay people to be executed was found by education regulator Ofsted in The Institute of Islamic Education, in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Inspectors noted that Islam on Homosexuality included “inappropriate content which does not encourage respect for those who share one of the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act”.

Following the discovery of the book, the private Muslim boarding school said it had “acted swiftly” to address issues raised, adding that “all books in its library are now consistent with these values”.

PinkNews has contacted Glasgow City Council, Higgins and TIE for comment.