Pupil Alliances Can Help to Battle Homophobia; New Guidance to Help Schools Tackle Homophobia Is Being Launched to Mark LGBT History Month. after a Successful Pilot to Establish "Gay-Straight Alliances" in Secondary Schools, Creator Nikki Giant, Founder of Social Enterprise Full Circle Education Solutions, Explains How School-Based Approaches Can Help Prevent Prejudice and Inequality in Wider Society

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

Pupil Alliances Can Help to Battle Homophobia; New Guidance to Help Schools Tackle Homophobia Is Being Launched to Mark LGBT History Month. after a Successful Pilot to Establish "Gay-Straight Alliances" in Secondary Schools, Creator Nikki Giant, Founder of Social Enterprise Full Circle Education Solutions, Explains How School-Based Approaches Can Help Prevent Prejudice and Inequality in Wider Society


Homophobia is a problem that can affect any young person, regardless of their sexuality. Homophobic slurs are used as "easy" put downs to humiliate and bully others, particularly if a young person is different in some way, or doesn't conform to gender stereotypes.

Schools have a duty to promote inclusion and equality for all pupils, regardless of their characteristics - such as race, religion, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation. In a country that is increasingly diverse and culturally rich, it is crucial that our young people are taught how to value and respect others.

Homophobia is just as likely to occur in our schools and communities as racism, sexism or bullying because of someone's upbringing or disability, and yet it is often a problem ignored.

More than 55% of pupils who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are bullied during their school life, according to the charity Stonewall, whose report into homophobic bullying in schools also found that one in three gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying change their plans for future education because of it.

Culturally, we are more adept at dealing with problems of racism and sexism, which undoubtedly still exist. There are many efforts at school level - and on a local and national scale - that seek to address these inequalities, but homophobia is, for many, still a taboo subject.

Homophobic language has become so commonplace in everyday slang that it is rarely challenged by adults or addressed in the classroom.

For the young person experiencing homophobia or homophobic bullying (whether they identify as LGB or not), the fear of expected stigma and prejudice can keep them silent.

Addressing homophobia and promoting a school-wide approach to equality and inclusion must include many different strands, including effective policies, lessons within the curriculum and awareness-raising assemblies. Involving young people in this process is crucial - a youth-led response to these issues will not only serve to educate the wider school community, but set a tone for positive action. A peer-led message is much more likely to be accepted by young people when exploring issue-based themes such as sexual orientation and homophobia.

One method to engage young people in promoting the rights of LGB people and tackling homophobia is the creation of "Gay-Straight Alliances" (GSAs).

These youth-led and developed groups bring together those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual with their straight counterparts, and those questioning their sexuality.

GSAs originated in the United States, where they have been found to help reduce homophobia in schools, promote inclusion and help all students to feel safer. …

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Pupil Alliances Can Help to Battle Homophobia; New Guidance to Help Schools Tackle Homophobia Is Being Launched to Mark LGBT History Month. after a Successful Pilot to Establish "Gay-Straight Alliances" in Secondary Schools, Creator Nikki Giant, Founder of Social Enterprise Full Circle Education Solutions, Explains How School-Based Approaches Can Help Prevent Prejudice and Inequality in Wider Society
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