The Tory leader for Scotland, Ruth Davidson, who is gay, has defended her fight against homophobia in schools via a series of impassioned tweets.

The speech came after a report from Stonewall Scotland, showing that less than one-in-five teachers feel they have the proper training to address the problem, and one in every three teachers has said they have heard other staff members use anti-gay slurs.

Scotland on Sunday columnist Dani Garavelli tweeted that anyone doubting the use of homophobic language was alive and well should ‘spend some time on teenagers’ Facebook accounts’, to which Davidson replied, ‘It’s the suicide attempts that get me. We make our kids feel so ashamed of who they are that they would rather not be at all. Anyone who thinks this isn’t real is kidding themselves.’

When Garavelli pointed out that ‘some of the children involved are not actually homophobic but they seem to have no sense of the damage the casual use of such language causes’, Davidson said that young people ‘got to know that that’s not ok… it’s not acceptable.’

She went on to say that as an out gay woman at the head of the third biggest party in Scotland, she often receives ‘gay-bashing’ comments, and sometimes republishes them ‘to make a point.’

Some journalists, she says, criticise her for giving publicity to the trolls – ‘but,’ she replies, ‘young gay people have to know that you don’t just have to sit there and take being St Sebastianed on Twitter without response’ – a reference to a Roman martyr from the early days of Christianity who was both shot and beaten to death.

A year ago, So So Gay reported on Stonewall’s campaign to stamp out the misuse of the word gay as a negative term or insult. Wayne Dhesi, from Stonewall, said at the time that school children need to be taught that misusing the word gay is wrong: ‘People hear phrases such as, “That’s so gay” and “You’re so gay” being used to describe something that’s negative or defective,’ he said. ‘It perpetuates the stereotype that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is somehow wrong.’

You can read the full conversation between Davidson and Garavelli online.