A wonderful new LGBT+ inclusive competition for primary schools to celebrate the diversity of families across Ireland while at the same time tackling the issues of homophobic and transphobic bullying has officially been launched.
Taking place throughout May, the competition welcomes entries in many forms. Schools can choose to create individual, group or class artwork, comics, stories, poems, plays, songs, videos, or podcasts based on the theme ‘Different Families, Same Love’. Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, relevance to the theme and how well the learning was shared with wider audiences.
The launch of the competition mentions how homophobic and transphobic bullying has been found to be widespread in Irish schools. It affects those who are LGBT+, those perceived to be LGBT+, those raised in families headed by LGBT+ parents, those with LGBT+ friends or relatives, those perceived to be outside the norms that constitute ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ behaviour and those that witness the bullying as bystanders.
Research has shown that bullying impacts negatively on a child’s learning, their attendance at school, and their mental health and well-being. Experiencing bullying behaviour and minority stress (experiences of stigmatisation, discrimination, social exclusion and harassment) can be attributed to the development of low self-esteem, self-harm and suicidal behaviour. By representing LGBT+ identities and families in a positive light through classroom discussions and activities, teachers can make a positive difference, making all children and young people feel included and giving them a greater sense of well-being.
Chairperson of the INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group, Cecelia Gavigan, said at the launch: “Families are the primary lens through which children view the world. It is vitally important for each child, but especially those from same-sex headed families, to see all types of family positively represented in our classrooms. This competition, and the accompanying resources, is a great impetus to teachers to do just that.”
The closing date for entries is May 24th 2019. Further information can be found here.
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