bullying continues to be a problem for Scotlands
schools. Homophobic bullying can be directed at any student
or teacher within a school, regardless of their sexual orientation
or gender identity. Some young people may have parents,
friends or family members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual
or transgender (LGBT). Recent research surveys indicate
that LGB or T young people experience high levels of verbal
and physical abuse, often at school. Homophobic insults
are common place in the school playground, and can socially
exclude young people, leaving them living in fear of attack
Scottish Executives social inclusion agenda, and the
move towards Health Promoting Schools status in Scotland
provide an ideal opportunity with which to challenge homophobia
are a number of ways teachers can challenge homophobic bullying
in their school or youth setting, creating a safe environment
for all. Here are a few ideas:
posters and leaflets to help LGBT young people feel valued
and included, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity.
that the equal opportunities policy is inclusive of LGBT
people, and that the anti-bullying policy explicitly addresses
for staff training to raise the profile of these issues,
and to encourage staff to challenge homophobia.
may also be helpful to consider homophobia within an anti-discriminatory
context, alongside sexism and racism. Why not set up a peer
education programme across all these issues, and allow young
people to explore their values and attitudes within the
safety of their peer group?
Youth Scotland has over 15 years experience of working to
support LGBT young people, their families and carers, and
the professionals who work with them, and is committed to
supporting inclusion. In October 2003 LGBT Youth Scotland
launched a range of resources aimed at addressing homophobia
with young people. Our report Developing Practice
for the Reduction of Homophobic Bullying in Scottish Youth
Settings, and young peoples poster resource
set are valuable tools with which to challenge homophobic
bullying in your organisation.
more information, or to order the resource set, contact
Moray Paterson (Senior Health Promotion Specialist)
on 0131 622 2266. Visit LGBT's website here.