A PRIEST from Cambuslang has become the first Catholic representative to support teaching children about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in school.

Father Paul Morton, of St Bride's Parish Church, says bullying due a child's gender identity or sexual orientation should be a "thing of the past".

The priest has lent his support to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign, which was set up by two Glasgow men in a bid to crack down on homophobic abuse in the classroom.

He joins other religious representatives including Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Church of Scotland Minister John Nugent in backing the cause.

It comes months after he spoke out against the "negative stance" previously taken against LGBT people in a post on the church's Facebook page.

Fr Morton said: "As a Catholic priest I have met many people who struggle with their sexuality, and I know the great harm that this has done in the lives of many men and women. I want this to be a thing of the past and I believe that this is the intention behind the TIE Campaign.

"It is clear that the TIE campaign is on the front-line of reaching out to young people in Scotland who are trying to understand both their sexuality and their identity.

"I cannot help but be impressed by both the clarity and vision that they have for their work.

"Most of all I want to give my unequivocal support to those who will benefit from it - a huge number of young people across the length and breadth of Scotland.

"We are waking up to a Scotland where LGBTI people are no longer invisible and don’t have to hide who they are or what they are, and that has to be a good thing. In times gone by the Church was always a building which people went to for sanctuary - it is my hope that the Church can be that once again for LGBTI people."

Research by the TIE campaign last year found that 90 per cent of LGBT people experience homophobia at school, while 27 per cent reported that they had attempted suicide due to being bullied.

TIE founder Jordan Daly, who has been campaigning for greater education about LGBT issues in schools since 2014, has welcomed the support and said:"We are delighted and encouraged by Father Morton's support for our campaign.

"This is culturally and historically significant, as his stance further highlights that having faith and supporting LGBT rights are not mutually exclusive nor controversial.

"We are looking forward to working more closely with Father Morton as we continue in our efforts to ensure that all schools are LGBT inclusive environments."