Homophobic bullying

"The majority of the anti-gay remarks are directed at students who are (probably) not gay but the remarks are intended as insults to insinuate that they are gay."
Anna, librarian, secondary school (West Midlands) 

Who experiences homophobic bullying 

Anyone can experience homophobic bullying for being perceived as different. This includes boys who 'behave or act like girls', boys who aren't into sports and girls who are and those with gay parents. (The Teachers' Report) If homophobic bullying goes unchallenged this impacts on all children and young people because they won't feel they can be themselves.

Schools' obligations

Schools have a legal duty to prevent and challenge homophobic bullying and to make sure the wellbeing of all children and young people. Schools also cannot discriminate against anyone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual or because of who their parents are. The Single Equality Duty also requires schools to advance equality and foster good relations and young people have a right to information relevant to them.

What parents and carers can do

If your child experiences homophobic bullying in primary or secondary school you could sign-post teachers to Stonewall's resources such as The School Report and The Teachers' Report. You could also the school that there is plenty of information and support available.  

Stonewall is able to work directly with individual primary and secondary schools through the School Champions programme, which provides tailored support and guidance to schools in preventing and tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference. You can download a leaflet about the programme to send to your child's school here.

Schools should have an anti-bullying policy which explicitly mentions homophobic bullying. Stonewall's research has found that gay pupils are much more likely to be bullied in schools that don't say homophobic bullying is wrong than in schools that do (67 per cent compared to 48 per cent). 

Stonewall has produced FIT, a film about friendship, coming out and fitting in. This film was sent to every secondary school in the country in March 2010. You might want to find out whether the film has been screened and if not, why not.

Your child might be interested in joining the Stonewall Youth Volunteering Programme. This programme provides great opportunities for any young person who would like to run their own campaign against homophobic bullying.

There are a number of good books for primary school aged children and books for young people and on our website you will find a number of links for information and support websites.

There are other things you can do, for example becoming a school governor. 

  • If you have questions or would like to share good practice examples of parents' initiatives please contact education@stonewall.org.uk.


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