The Welsh arm of Stonewall has urged schools to tackle homophobic bullying in the wake of a shocking report which revealed nearly a quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have attempted to take their own life.
Stonewall Cymru has produced the advice, released on Friday, in order to eradicate the "daily nightmare of homophobic bullying".
The charity's call to the Welsh Government was prompted by Stonewall's School Report 2012, which found 41% lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) pupils deliberately harm themselves as a result of bullying while 55% experience homophobic bullying at school.
"We won’t rest until every single gay young person in Wales can walk through their school gates every morning without fear of being bullied just because of the way they were born," says Andrew White, director of Stonewall Cymru. "If we truly aspire to a Wales where every single child can reach their full potential, tackling homophobic bullying is crucial.
"It’s unacceptable that over half of gay young people face a daily nightmare of homophobic bullying, and deeply worrying that some schools and teachers still fail to challenge it effectively."
Only half of LGB pupils say their school advocates homophobic bullying as wrong, while less than a third say their school responds quickly to homophobic bullying when it occurs. Only 10% of gay pupils report their teachers challenging homophobic language every time they hear it.
Stonewall Cymru is now urging teachers to deal with bullying quickly and provide support to LGB young people. Recommendations to the government include:
- Schools should have clear and promoted policies on tackling homophobic bullying.
- Every incident should be taken seriously and quickly acted on
- School leaders should make sure homophobic language is not used by staff
- Schools should support gay staff who want to be open about their sexual orientation
Stonewall spoke to hundreds of children about their experiences of homophobic bullying, and included some of their experiences in the report: