76% Of LGBT+ Youth Name Bullying At School As Source Of Severe Anxiety

Research from LGBT+ youth group BeLonG To has revealed that three in four LGBT+ young people cite anti-LGBT+ bullying as a major cause of mental health issues.

boy crying in a hallway in a school as a result of bullying

BeLonG To Youth Services today launched their Stand Up Awareness Week, and have revealed that 76% of Irish LGBT+ second-level students say that they experience major anxiety due to homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying.

The research also found that 77% say that the idea of coming out and being LGBT+ in school is also a major cause of anxiety, worry and fear.

The research was conducted ahead of BeLonG To’s Stand Up Awareness Week, which is Ireland’s largest anti-LGBTI+ bullying campaign, with 43% of Irish secondary schools participating in Stand Up events last year.

Stand Up Awareness Week has been held every year for the past nine years and gives Irish second-level schools an opportunity to take a stand against anti-LGBT+ bullying, and every such school in Ireland has been given a free resource pack with information, activities and advice to create an LGBTI+ friendly school environment.

StandUp Awareness week posters which tackle anti-LGBT bullying in schools

BeLonG To’s Moninne Griffith explained that an effort needs to be made to combat the issue, saying, “Over the past nine years, we have worked with thousands of students and teachers to combat LGBTI+ related bullying. While many schools have taken proactive steps, there is still a long way to go to create safe, supportive and inclusive educational environments.

“We know that LGBTI+ young people are at a much higher risk of suicide and self-harm for many reasons including stigma, fear of rejection, exclusion and bullying.

“One young man told me how he knew he was gay from the age of eight. He came out ten years later. He described the turmoil and anguish he experienced during that decade of silence when he was isolated and badly bullied at school, comparing it to a witch-hunt.

“This is sadly just one story highlighting the anxiety and fear that 76% of LGBTI+ students experience because of bullying. This alarming statistic is a wakeup call for all of us who care about the wellbeing of young people including schools, local authorities, and the Government highlighting the need to prioritise creating safe school environments for LGBTI+ youth.”

stand up poster against anti-lgbt bullying

Speaking about Stand Up Awareness Week, which runs from November 12 to 16, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh said:

“Our school years help to shape who we are and who we can become.  We all have a responsibility to create a safe school environment, free from all discrimination and bullying including identity-based bullying relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.  As Minister, I urge all second-level schools to participate in Stand Up Awareness Week and create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTI+ young people where they are supported to learn and prosper.”

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton attended the launch and said, “I’m proud to launch Stand Up Awareness Week in support of LGBTI+ students across Ireland. This campaign grows from strength-to-strength each year and benefits students, teachers, and the entire community. I encourage every second-level school in Ireland to get involved in this excellent initiative to empower students to support their LGBTI+ friends and create safe, inclusive schools.”

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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