Young people nationwide take part in Ireland’s largest anti-LGBTQ+ bullying campaign

Last year, BeLonG To reached over 200,000 second-level students through Stand Up Awareness Week helping to create a brighter future for LGBTQ+ young people.

Stand Up anti LGBTQ bullying campaign

Over half of Irish students believe coming out as LGBTQ+ will lead to bullying. Second-level schools take a stand against LGBTQ+ related bullying during Stand Up Awareness Week.

Kicking off Stand Up Awareness Week, schools across Ireland are taking part in the campaign by raising the rainbow flag, displaying information on LGBTQ+ identities and even creating rainbow crossings.

Last year, 206,864 second-level students learned about LGBTQ+ identities and how to support their LGBTQ+ classmates through Stand Up Awareness Week.

A poll from BeLonG To Youth Services, the national LGBTI+ youth organisation shows students correlate coming out as LGBTI+ with bullying. Some 52% of students believe that if someone in their school comes out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, that they will be bullied.

The data come from research conducted ahead of Stand Up Awareness Week, Ireland’s largest anti-LGBTQ+ bullying campaign in Ireland, with 58% of second-level schools participating in last year’s event.

For 11 years now, Stand Up Awareness Week has been a time for second-level schools to take a stand against the anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling that silences many students and can result in serious mental health challenges.

As part of Stand Up Awareness Week, running from November 16-20, every second-level school in Ireland has been given a free resource pack with information, activities, and advice to create an LGBTQ+ friendly school environment.

This finding compounds the 2019 School Climate Survey which revealed that an alarming 73% of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school. Some 77% of LGBTQ+ students experience verbal harassment (name-calling or being threatened), 38% experience physical harassment (being shoved or pushed), and 11% experience physical assault (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) based on their sexual orientation, gender or gender expression.

Moninne Griffith, CEO BeLonG To Youth Services said: “The results of our 2019 School Climate Survey set off alarm bells as schools across Ireland realised the extent of bullying that LGBTI+ students experience and the sometimes tragic toll this can have on young lives.

“Stand Up Awareness Week is a time for all schools to take action against homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic bullying and show they welcome, value, and support LGBTI+ students. Supportive schools improve academic performance, attendance, and mental health outcomes. We saw a huge increase in the number of schools joining us for Stand Up Awareness Week last year, and hope that more schools will join the campaign this year to and priortise creating safe school environments for LGBTI+ youth.”

GCN have partnered with BeLonG To on a new series platforming opinions and thoughts of LGBTQ+ young writers from across the country.

In the run up to Stand Up Awareness Week 2020, GCN has published articles covering topics ranging from body positivity to growing up LGBTQ+ post marriage referendum. They can be found here.

If you have friends or family members who are teachers or students at second-level schools, encourage them to take part. Visit BeLonG To’s website today to download a free Stand Up Awareness Week Pack today and view their new in-class videos and learning pack. Share the Facebook posts and Tweets during Stand Up Awareness Week, and help raise awareness about this important issue using the hashtags #StandUp20 and #ComeIn.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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