16 November 2012
Ian McKellen says he’s ‘privileged’ to help Stonewall’s work to tackle anti-gay bullying. The Hobbit star has narrated a new video from the charity to raise awareness of homophobic bullying during Anti-Bullying Week (19-23 November).
In the video Ian reveals statistics from the University of Cambridge for Stonewall’s School Report 2012, which showed over half of gay young people are homophobically bullied, 56 per cent have deliberately harmed themselves, and nearly a quarter have attempted to take their own lives. Stonewall is running a national campaign encouraging people to call on schools to work harder to tackle and prevent homophobic bullying.
Gay young people interviewed for the video encourage schools to join Stonewall’s School Champions programme, which helps teachers support gay pupils. School Champions members benefit from visits from prominent gay role models, including celebrities and members of the Armed Forces. Ian is currently visiting School Champions members across Britain with Stonewall.
Ian said: ‘Nothing in life is more important to me than helping gay young people realise that there are better days ahead of them. I’m proud that Stonewall – which I helped create to tackle legalised homophobia – is now leading the fight in those British schools where homophobic bullying ruins far too many young people’s lives. It's a privilege to play a small part in bringing it to an end.’
Stonewall’s Anti-Bullying Week video, produced by digital agency Feref at Lillian Baylis Technology School in Vauxhall, London, is available on Stonewall’s YouTube channel at www.stonewall.org.uk/BullyingVideo. All the young people interviewed in the video have been homophobically bullied and are working with Stonewall to help their schools tackle it. For more information about Stonewall’s campaign visit www.stonewall.org.uk/antibullying
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