Calls from LGBT youth groups for increased education in schools

by Dublin Gazette
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[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]New research has shown that more than three-quarters of LGBT+ young people have disclosed that anti-LGBT+ bullying is a major source of anxiety in their lives.

The new research from BeLonG To Youth Services shows that 76% of LGBT+ young people find this kind of bullying a predominant source of anxiety.

The study also found that for 77% of LGBT+ youth, ‘coming out’ and being identified at school is also a major source of concern.

The findings come from research conducted ahead of Stand Up Awareness Week this week – Ireland’s largest LGBT+ anti-bullying campaign in Ireland.

Moninne Griffith, executive director of BeLonG To Youth Services, said: “Over the past nine years, we have worked with thousands of students and teachers to combat LGBT+ related bullying.

“While many schools have taken proactive steps, there is still a long way to go to create safe, supportive, and inclusive educational environments for LGBT+ youth.

“This alarming statistic is a wake-up call for all of us who care about the wellbeing of young people including schools, local authorities, and the Government highlighting the need to prioritise creating safe school environments for LGBT+ youth.”

ShoutOut, a charity organisation which delivers workshops on tackling transphobic and homophobic bullying to schools, has released a new video highlighting the dangers surrounding the lack of LGBT+ awareness in Irish secondary schools.

The video features volunteers from the ShoutOut executive team recounting their experiences of being LGBT+ while going through school, highlighting the lack of formal education on LGBT+ topics such as sexuality and gender identity.

Managing director of ShoutOut, Bella Fitzpatrick, believes that although Irish society has changed, schools can act as “time capsules, frozen in a very conservative culture which rejects LGBT+ young people”.

She added: “Schools can uphold rigid gender norms, and operate on an assumption of young people being cisgender and heterosexual.

“I’ve worked with schools where the students couldn’t bring same-gender dates to the debs – what place does that have in a country with marriage equality?

“Teachers are ill-equipped due to no fault of their own; most teachers want to be supportive but simply do not know what to say.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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