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Homophobic bullying continues to be a problem for Scotland’s 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 or ridicule.

The Scottish Executive’s social inclusion agenda, and the move towards Health Promoting Schools status in Scotland provide an ideal opportunity with which to challenge homophobia head-on.

There 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:

  • Display posters and leaflets to help LGBT young people feel valued and included, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity.
  • Check that the equal opportunities policy is inclusive of LGBT people, and that the anti-bullying policy explicitly addresses homophobia.
  • Arrange for staff training to raise the profile of these issues, and to encourage staff to challenge homophobia.

It 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?

LGBT 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 Moray PatersonYouth Settings’, and young people’s poster resource set are valuable tools with which to challenge homophobic bullying in your organisation.

For more information, or to order the resource set, contact Moray Paterson (Senior Health Promotion Specialist) on 0131 622 2266. Visit LGBT's website here.

New Bullying Leaflet for Gypsy and Traveller Children and their Families

The Scottish Traveller Education Programme (STEP) has been funded since 1990 by the Scottish Executive Education Department to promote more inclusive practices in education services to support Gypsies and Travellers throughout Scotland. In August 2003, STEP published a pocket sized leaflet for Gypsy and Traveller children and their families called ‘Stop Bullying Now!’ This leaflet offers advice about reacting to and reporting bullying with short lists of dos and don’ts for the young people and the families supporting them. The leaflet makes the point that racist bullying is illegal and that all children should be treated with respect. It also reminds readers that all children have a right to go to school until they are 16 years old.

Click the STEP logo to the right to visit their website.

Click to visit the STEP website!For a copy please send a stamped addressed envelope to:
The Administrator
The Department of Educational Studies
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
Holyrood Road
Edinburgh EH8 8AQ


 © Anti-Bullying Network, 2003