Unions support Society of Radiographers motion to work with Stonewall
A campaign by the UK’s leading gay and bisexual rights organisation to stop homophobic bullying, a widespread problem in Britain’s secondary schools, was yesterday given unanimous support at the TUC Congress.
A motion by the Society of Radiographers highlighting the Stonewall programme to eradicate the bullying of gays, lesbians and transgender students was warmly welcomed by delegates.
Stonewall launched ‘The School Report’ earlier this year and claimed that research showed that more than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils are bullied by other students.
The use of homophobic language is endemic. Almost all (99 per cent) of gay young people hear the phrases ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school and 96 per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic language such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’.
Three in five gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying say that teachers who witness it do not intervene. Only half of gay pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong, even fewer condemn it in faith schools (37 per cent)
Stonewall claim that homophobic bullying has a profoundly damaging impact on young people’s school experience. One in three (32 per cent) of gay pupils experiencing bullying say that they change their future educational plans because of it and three in five say it impacts on their school work.
SoR’s Karen Smith said: “Gay people who are bullied are at a higher risk of suicide, self-harm and depression. Four out of 10 gay people have attempted or thought about taking their own life because of bullying and the same number say that they deliberately self-harm because of bullying.”
“Schools have a legal requirement to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying, and some have programmes and strategies to increase awareness and tackle this behaviour. We also know that homophobic bullying incidents dramatically decrease in those schools. However, there is still a long way to go with engaging other schools to introduce policies and procedures to deal with the problem.
“Encouragingly, the study shows that change is not difficult and gay pupils are less likely to be bullied if the school explicitly states that homophobic bullying is not tolerated.”
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