A well-known TV actor has said that attending a gay youth group when he was 15 helped him come to terms with his sexuality and go on to have a successful career.
David Paisley spoke at the launch of LGBT Youth Scotland’s toolkit for teachers, which was sent to all secondary schools in the country last week.
The Casualty and Tinseltown star said he hoped Dealing with Homophobia and Homophobic Bullying in Scottish Schools would help to tackle the abuse gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans pupils face.
Mr Paisley played gay characters in both programmes and is currently starring in BBC Scotland soap River City.
“I first came into contact with LGBT Youth Scotland back when I was about 15,” he said at the toolkit launch event last week.
“That was the beginning of a new world for me, realising that I wasn’t the only one and I wasn’t isolated.
“From that moment my confidence and happiness took off, and in so many ways I have LGBT Youth Scotland to thank for that.
“I don’t think I would have had the confidence and self assurance to become an actor if it wasn’t in part for the help and assurance I received when I needed it.
“That is why I came along today to support the campaign as it highlights issues that are really important in today’s schools, because it impacts not just on LGBT people, but reverberates beyond school borders.
“When I was at school, clause 28 was still around and legally it would have been very difficult for this campaign to be launched. Luckily that clause has gone.
“For that and so many other reasons I’m really happy to support this campaign and open up this subject and help tackle so many problems within homophobia in schools, it’s something I really believe is important, it will make so much difference to young peoples’ lives in and around Scotland.”
A 2008 survey by LGBT Youth Scotland formed the basis of the toolkit.
It found that 70% of LGBT young people feel that schools are not safe environments for them.
Many had experienced homophobic bullying and wanted a ‘proactive’ and preventative approach to tackling homophobia in their schools.
The LGBT tooklit was developed in partnership with Learning and Teaching Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government.
In November the Government pledged £480,000 over the next three years to fund a confidential anti-bullying advice service, provided by Childline Scotland.