Research shows that homophobic bullying is endemic in Scotland’s schools. It is three times more prevalent than bullying due to religion or ethnicity and not only does this affect pupils’ school work in the vast majority of cases, we also know that half of those affected skipped school to avoid the bullying.
In many cases it can also have a worrying effect on young people’s mental health; it can be no coincidence that instances of depression are significantly higher among LGB young people, as are instances of young people attempting to take their own lives.
Even more worryingly, further research has shown that three quarters of primary school teachers hear phrases such as "that’s so gay" or "you’re so gay" in their schools, and many also reported hearing remarks like "poof", "dyke" and "faggot".
44% of primary teachers also say that young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, experience homophobic bullying, name calling or harassment in their schools. That this sort of language and behaviour is taking root at such an early age is a problem which should be addressed.
Recently, two resources have been made available which help teachers treat homophobia with the same zero-tolerance approach as other forms of bullying.
Show Racism the Red Card launched two brand new educational films at an event for invited guests at Hampden Park, on Tuesday 1st May. The films come with an accompanying education pack and the resources are designed to educate young people and adults about the damage of homophobia and provide people with a range of information and skills to enable them to effectively challenge homophobia.
Stonewall's "Different Families Same Love" posters have proved incredibly popular, showing pictures of all sorts of different families: some with a mum and a dad, some with just one parent, and some with a dad and a dad or a mum and a mum. Every child's family is different, and no child should be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed of their parents.
Stonewall Scotland's Train the Trainer courses give pastoral, anti-bullying and personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) leads the knowledge, tools and confidence to train colleagues on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying bullying and celebrating difference. Participating schools become members of Stonewall's School Champions programme.