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LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

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New Project to Tackle Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Bullying Launched

November 20, 2013 11:29 PM

An initiative to help drive out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools was launched today by Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson, during Anti-Bullying Week.

Jo Swinson said:"Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying has serious consequences - it can affect children's well-being, lead to poor educational performance and prevent them getting ahead in life.

"It's completely unacceptable that young people are experiencing this type of derogatory treatment.

"This new project will help us to fully understand the issues and develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools and others to stamp out this harmful behaviour."

Chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems, Adrian Trett, added: "Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia at school and college, at home and in wider society has blighted the lives of so many people. A loss both to wider society and in each individual story. It goes on long after individual incidents - affecting education, career, health, relationships, so many parts of life.

"And this is a problem not just for lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people - despite what they might claim, bullies don't have powerful gaydar and many straight cisgender young people suffer too.

"As schools have started tackling these issues in recent years I'm delighted that the government, thanks to Lib Dem pressure, will be working to identify and spread best practice."

Latest statistics from Stonewall reveal that, in 2012, more than half (55 per cent) of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people surveyed said they experienced homophobic bullying at school, while over two-thirds (68 per cent) reported that they heard homophobic language often or frequently. Only three in ten (31 per cent) said their school responds quickly to homophobic bullying when it occurs.

The new project, announced by the Government today, seeks to understand fully how to reduce the prevalence and impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying among school-age children and young people. To kick start this programme of work, organisations are being invited to bid for funding to conduct a full review of all the available evidence and existing practices currently in place in schools to tackle this issue.

The new initiative will build on action the Government has already taken to tackle bullying in schools including publishing updated advice and guidance for schools and governing bodies; and giving schools greater legal powers to tackle bad behaviour and cyber-bullying.