Government Ministers Stand Up To Anti-LGBT+ Bullying

Ministers Richard Bruton TD and Katherine Zappone TD have joined forces to help take a stand against homophobic and transphobic bullying in Irish secondary schools.

Stand Up Awareness Week

The Ministers launched the eighth annual Stand Up Awareness Week, which is organised by BeLonG To Youth Services this month.

During Stand Up Awarness Week second level schools are encouraged to engage in activities and put up posters, urging students to take a stand against the anti-LGBTI+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling.

According to research carried out by GCN and BeLonG To  in August of this year, 70% of young LGBT+ people do not feel safe at school.

Urging all second-level schools in Ireland to join the initiative, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone said: “Sadly many [young people] continue to face bullying, discrimination and isolation. One in five LGBTI+ young people say they are confronted with harassment in the classroom, schoolyard and the wider community. This can have harrowing effects on mental health.”

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, TD stated his commitment to changing the culture of schools. ““Despite major social changes for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland in recent years, our young LGBTI+ people still face challenges including bullying at school. As Minister, I am keen to do everything I can to ensure our education system is as inclusive as possible and my Department is deeply committed to tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying,” he said.

“I urge all second level schools to join this important initiative, and encourage students to stand up for their LGBT+ friends. By starting a conversation about LGBT+ inclusivity at school, we are creating safe spaces for our students to learn.”

Stand Up Awareness Week runs from November 13 to 17 and is the largest anti LGBT+ bullying campaign in Ireland, with 35% of secondary schools participating in last year’s initiative.

According to Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services: “We are delighted that over 35% of schools across Ireland engage with BeLonG To’s Stand Up Awareness Week, but more work needs to be done so LGBT+ students are safe, protected and feel that they belong.”

“During Stand Up Week, students, teachers and school communities across Ireland will stand up for their LGBTI+ friends and take a stand against LGBTI+ bullying and harassment. Stand Up week is also an opportunity for schools to look at how they can make them safe and supportive places for LGBTI+ students. It is unacceptable that 70% of young LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school. Students, parents and teachers want this to change.”

For further information on how to get involved with #Standup2017, click here.

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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