Yesterday, RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan showed her support at the launch of Stand Up! Awareness Week against homophobic and transphobic bullying in Ireland.
The fifth annual Stand Up! Awareness Week is organised by BeLonG To, Ireland’s national organisation for LGBT young people, and runs for the week of March 10 – 14. Stand Up! was launched yesterday
According to research funded by the Department of Education and Skills and carried out by Dublin City University, 79% of teachers were aware of homophobic bullying in their schools. BeLonG To believes that education is the key to ending discrimination in schools and is working with the Irish school system to raise awareness of LGBT identity and to stop homophobia.
As a part of the Stand Up! campaign, BeLonG To id providing vital educational materials to all post primary schools and youth services in the country, as well as organising training events for teachers and youth workers in how to support LGBT young people and tackle bullying. Education packs sent to schools include educational DVDs, a discussion guide, lesson plans, posters and other promotional material. Events are also taking place to promote the initiative in youth centres around the country.
David Carroll, Executive Director of BeLonG To, commented, “In 2014, we simply cannot allow any young person to be harassed for who they are, and the success and growth of Stand Up! over the last five years has shown how eager young people across Ireland are to show their support to their LGBT friends. 2014’s campaign further strengthens this message of solidarity, and many isolated or vulnerable LGBT young people will hear important messages of affirmation and support in regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity, in many cases for the first time.”
Speaking prior to yesterday’s launch, Ruairí Quinn T.D., Minister for Education and Skills added, “No-one should have to experience homophobic bullying, especially not young people. I urge all young people to Stand Up! to such bullies. Critically, I believe that young people who see homophobic bullying occurring, the by-standers, should also be empowered to intervene and show that they will not tolerate seeing their peers bullied just because of their sexuality.”
In its first year Stand Up! Awareness Week won the support of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), and in each following year has won support from more and more education partners. For more information visit BeLonGTo.org .
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