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 are not into sports and girls who are and those with lesbian or 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 ensure 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 forster 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 familiarise yourself with the resources Stonewall has produced such as The School Report and The Teachers' Report. You might want to inform the school that there is plenty of information and support available such as guidance on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying from the Department for Education. Schools should have an anti-bullying policy which explicitly mentions homophobic bullying: in schools that have sought to eliminate homophobic remarks and where such language is rarely or never heard, the incidence of homophobic bullying is just 37 per cent compared with 68 per cent in schools where homophobic language is heard more frequently (The School Report).

Stonewall has produced FIT, a film about friendship, coming out and fitting in and 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.

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.


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