What you can do

Stonewall School Report 2017: Anti-LGBT bullying down but LGBT young people still at risk

  • New research shows anti-LGBT bullying and language has decreased across Britain’s schools since 2012

  • Schools are increasingly condemning anti-LGBT bullying and celebrating difference

  • But almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school for being LGBT, and more than two in five trans young people have tried to take their own life

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has revealed that while anti-LGBT bullying has decreased since 2012, many LGBT young people are still at risk in Britain’s schools.

Conducted in partnership with the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, Stonewall’s School Report has found that 45 per cent of LGBT pupils in Britain’s schools are bullied for being LGBT, down from 55 per cent in 2012.

Use of homophobic language has also decreased, with 52 per cent of LGBT people hearing homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school, down from 68 per cent in 2012.

Schools are increasingly willing to address LGBT issues within the classroom. In 2012 more than half of LGBT pupils (53 per cent) had never been taught about LGBT issues at school; this has fallen to 40 per cent today.

The research also shows that schools are much more likely to condemn homophobic bullying than in previous years. This year seven in ten LGBT young people reported that their school says that homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from half in 2012 and just a quarter in 2007.

But while these improvements are encouraging, the report also reveals a much more distressing side to life for LGBT young people today. Rates of poor mental health are alarmingly high among LGBT young people: more than four in five trans young people (84 per cent) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (61 per cent).

More than two in five trans young people (45 per cent) have attempted to take their own life, and one in five lesbian, gay and bi students who aren’t trans (22 per cent) have done the same.

The report also found that nearly one in ten trans pupils (nine per cent) are subjected to death threats at school, and two in five LGBT young people are bullied online.

Just one in five LGBT young people have been taught about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships, demonstrating the desperate need for age-appropriate LGBT-inclusive Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in all schools.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall said: ‘Stonewall has worked alongside governments and schools over the last decade to combat anti-LGBT bullying and create inclusive learning environments for young people.

‘Our school years are one of the most formative periods of our lives, and we owe it to young LGBT people to ensure they don’t face discrimination or bullying because of who they are, but are supported to flourish and achieve.

‘While our new School Report shows an improved experience for pupils in many ways, it also needs to act as a wake-up call for schools, government and politicians on just how far we still have to go.

‘Almost half of LGBT young people are still bullied at school for being LGBT, and only one in five LGBT pupils have learned about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships.  This must be urgently addressed.

‘Now that compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is set to become a reality in England, it’s vital to ensure that these lessons are always inclusive of LGBT issues and same-sex relationships.

‘The guidance for teaching RSE, which was last updated in 2000, is due to be updated this year, and it’s vital that the government ensures that LGBT issues are addressed in this teaching.

‘This will not just provide LGBT students with the resources and information needed to make informed decisions as they grow up, but will also help create an inclusive and respectful learning environment.’

Read the full School Report (2017), and find out what you can do to have a positive impact on the lives of young LGBT people, by visiting www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport.