Sir Ian McKellen, co-founder of Stonewall, will be touring schools nationwide on behalf of the charity throughout October, November and December.
He will be giving assemblies, chatting to pupils in classrooms and promoting Stonewall’s campaign to tackle homophobic bullying, which is rife in Britain’s schools.
Ian McKellen said: ‘Until I visited secondary schools recently, I hadn’t realised how much anti-gay bullying goes on, throughout the education system. By talking frankly about my own life as a gay man and listening to the concerns of staff and students, parents and governors, I hope the visits arranged by Stonewall may make a difference in the classroom and the playground and also give confidence to gay students about their lives in the future.’
The tour is a benefit to all members of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme, which supports local authorities in helping their local schools to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying. Members who will be visited by Sir Ian include schools in Wigan, North Yorkshire, Bristol, Cambridge, Newcastle, Leeds and several London boroughs. The programme currently has 42 members.
Recent YouGov research for Stonewall found that nine in ten teachers say their pupils currently experience homophobic bullying, but nine in ten have never received any training on how to tackle and prevent it.
It's horrible to think Section 28's atmosphere of paranoia in schools about being accused of "encouraging homosexuality" still lingers, as the root homophobia refuses to die. This campaign is excellent and exactly what Stonewall should be focussing on, keep up the good work!
Pete Lambert, 20 October 2010
This is a brilliant thing stonewall is doing. At school I was in the closet. This was because I knew nothing at all about being a lesbian or gay people. I have wasted a few years of my life because I was battling being a teen gay on my own in my own head. If I just had some info on groups or even knew there were other gay people out there I might have come out earlier. I hadn't even heard of stonewall till I was 17, 13 years ago.
Caroline bruton, 12 October 2010
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