Belong To, Ireland’s LGBTQ+ youth service, has today launched Stand Up Awareness Week 2023, its annual anti-LGBTQ+ bullying campaign.
Now in its 14th year, the week-long event running from November 6 to 10 is aimed at encouraging post-primary schools, youth services and Youthreach centres in Ireland to take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying among young people.
In the Schools Climate Survey conducted by Belong To last year, among 1,208 respondents, a staggering 76% of Irish LGBTQ+ students reported feeling unsafe at school, with one in five admitting to having faced bullying. The report also found that 69% of those surveyed had heard homophobic remarks from peers, while 58% of LGBTQ+ students heard homophobic remarks from school staff.
Coupled with the escalating erasure of LGBTQ+ and trans rights, especially targeted at young people in the US, UK and other countries, the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ young people are more challenging than ever.
However, the survey also found that 99% of LGBTQ+ students said that they know at least one school staff member supportive of LGBTQ+ identities.
According to the report, “findings show that this level of support leads to LGBTQ+ students being more likely to feel accepted by their peers, have an increased sense of belonging, and be less likely to miss school to avoid victimisation.”
Stand Up Awareness Week 2023 aims to build on this support by providing resource packs, posters and online teacher training, as well as helping schools host queer film screenings, all for free.
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The new 38-page Information Pack is bigger and better than ever before. Filled with activity ideas, LGBTQ+ language and terminology, and information on how to sustain an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment beyond this single week every year, this provides a vital resource for anyone supporting queer young people.
Stand Up Awareness Week 2023 also sees Belong To pairing up with the Irish Film Institute (IFI) again to provide free screenings of Love Simon. The 2018 comedy-drama tells the story of Simon, who is blackmailed by an online bully into coming out. To receive one of the limited free screening codes for schools, email [email protected].
With the theme of this year’s event being Allyship, Belong To has launched a new Allyship Resource pack aimed at encouraging friendship and support of LGBTQ+ students by other students. Allies play an invaluable part in creating spaces where LGBTQ+ people are safe and supported to be themselves.
As part of Stand Up Awareness Week 2023, Belong To is also encouraging all teachers and those working with young people to complete a free e-learning training module. The interactive training includes videos, exercises and quizzes to equip participants in effectively listening to, understanding, responding to, and supporting LGBTQ+ young people.
Upon completion, participants will be awarded a certificate which could be displayed on classroom doors as another way to show commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and support for Stand Up Awareness Week 2023.
With so many excellent resources available for free, this year, it’s easier than ever to show your support and allyship for Stand Up Awareness Week and to come together to create a safer Ireland for LGBTQ+ young people.
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