Category Archives: homophobia

Gay students get death threats

More than 150,000 students in the UK have been bullied at secondary school because they are gay, a new survey found.

Over two thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have been victimised by homophobic bullying, with abuse ranging from verbal abuse to violence to death threats at the hands of students and staff alike. Of those, 92 per cent (143,000) have experienced verbal bullying, 41 per cent (64,000) physical bullying and 17 per cent (26,000) death threats.

The study also discovered that that half of teachers did not intervene when students used homophobic language, using derogatory labels like “dyke”, “queer” or “rug muncher”.

Catherine, 13, from a single sex independent school (South East) explained that “ teachers join in on the joke’.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said “These deeply disturbing figures should serve as a wake-up call to everyone working in education.”

“This is a damning legacy of Section 28, which deterred schools from tackling anti-gay bullying for so long. This remains one of the few sorts of bullying about which too many schools still take no action. It blights the lives not just of gay children but of thousands of pupils perceived to be lesbian or gay too.”

The Stonewall survey polled 1,145 young people and found that 7/10 of those who have experienced homophobic bullying said it has adversely affected their school work. Half of those bullied say they have missed school as a result.

Ali, 17, from a secondary school in London said, “On three occasions I’ve been assaulted and had to go to hospital to be examined and get the police involved”.

‘People call me ‘gay’ everyday, sometimes people kick me and push me, they shut me out of games during school gym and they steal my belongings, “ said James, 17, from a secondary school in the South West.

Stonewall’s survey is the largest poll of young gay people ever conducted in the UK.

This story was first published on Gay.com

TUC lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender annual conference

Several hundred lesbian and gay workers are gathering in central London over the next two days to debate a series of key equality issues at the annual TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender conference.

Delegates attending the event at the TUC’s Congress House HQ will hear speeches from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, Commission for Equality and Human Rights Chair Trevor Phillips and MP Angela Eagle.

Motions to be discussed by delegates include the portrayal of lesbian and gay people in the media, the monitoring of sexuality in the workplace and the potential conflict between religious belief and sexual orientation.

Addressing the conference today (Thursday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come in the past decade. Ten years ago, gay rights were seen as a minority pursuit – now they’re part of the political mainstream. Ten years ago, the debate was about Section 28 – now we celebrate civil partnerships. And ten years ago, discrimination against the gay community in the provision of goods and services was quite legal – now, at long last, it has been outlawed.

‘But as we celebrate that progress, we cannot afford to relax our guard. This is not the time for us to take of eye of the ball. Despite all the legal gains – despite our largely liberal, tolerant society – the ugly scar of homophobia continues to blight the lives of so many people in your community. The young student bullied at college, the lesbian taunted about her sexuality, the gay couple hounded from their home.

‘However welcome they may be, changes on the statute book count for little unless they are matched by a corresponding change in attitudes. Think about our workplaces. We know from our own research that four in ten LGBT workers have faced abuse at work because of their sexuality.

‘And let’s not forget the challenges faced by LGBT people worldwide. From the casual murder of gay men in Jamaica to state-sponsored persecution in Iran, from the alarming rise in homophobia in Russia to the death squads of Iraq, members of your community are under attack as never before. None of us can afford to turn a blind eye – an injury to one is an injury to all. But where there is discrimination, unions will seek to remove it. Where there is inequality, we will tackle it. And where there is injustice, we will wage war on it.’