A £2 million package will be offered to schools to help them tackle biphobic, transphobic and homophobic bullying, the government has announced today.
Organisations are being urged to come forward with ideas to stamp out such bullying.
The money announced today will be offered to charitable and not-for-profit organisations that come forward with creative ideas to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in our schools – those projects that will make the biggest difference to the lives of all young people growing up in modern Britain.
Nicky Morgan, Conservative Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, said:
“Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying affects everyone, not just young people who may identify as LGBT. Any young person who is different can find themselves subjected to distressing and intimidating homophobic abuse. This funding will help schools take on the challenge of making sure bullies do not stand in the way our young people achieving their full potential.”
Jo Swinson, Lib Dem Minister for Women and Equalities, said:
“Young people should grow up feeling safe expressing who they are. We know the damage bullies can cause to young people’s self-esteem and educational attainment. There should be absolutely no excuse for this taking place in our schools.
“I am excited to see the creative proposals that this fund will bring about, to make sure we can bring homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying to an end.”
Bi women outnumber bi men by three to two according to the latest national research. The Integrated Household Survey run annually by the Office for National Statistics asks a question on (self perceived) sexual orientation.
Women were more likely to identify as bisexual (0.6%) compared to men (0.4%).
The gender bias goes the other way for lesbians and gay men – 1.6% of men identified themselves as gay compared to 0.8% of women.
1.6% of interviewees identified as bisexual, lesbian or gay – up from 1.5% last year but not a significant variation.
0.3% of the population stated “other” on the sexual orientation question.
Is the Equality & Human Rights Commission erasing bisexuality and neglecting the need to tackle biphobia?
The government has announced work on tackling biphobia, transphobia and homophobia and finding the best ways of doing so from the many projects that have been tried around the UK in recent years, to change the bullying culture that is still too prevalent in many schools.
The Equality & Human Rights Commission has put work on those issues out to tender – but the “B” seems to have dropped out the moment this project moved from government to quango, as what they say they are looking for in their listing for the tender is:
Purpose of this Project is to encourage greater reporting of homophobic and transphobic hate crime through advice and support to LGB and T communities (particularly in rural areas or where isolation exists or where reporting is notably low) and closer working relationships across criminal justice agencies and LGB and T organisations in tackling hate crimes.
BCN magazine have challenged them on this: editor Jen Yockney told us, “If this is meant to include biphobia and bisexual communities, it’s a bad sign that the Commission felt they could drop that word. If it’s accidental omission, it would be interesting to know how often they have equally accidentally missed out homophobia or lesbian and gay from materials meant to cover all of LGB or LGBT. I suspect never!”
The Commission has yet to respond.
Manchester kicks off the week of Bi Visibility Day today with a Bi Coffee meet & chat focused on our community history.
The city has a long record of bi activism, with the UK’s longest-running bisexual group and BCN magazine published there since 1998. But it also has a history of challenges, with a city council that had the non-existence of bis as a matter of policy through the 80s and 90s, and a gay scene notorious for “no bisexuals” door policies up until the passing of the 2005 Goods & Services Act.
The meet will be followed by an outing to see Pride, a film about the relationship between some queer rights campaigners and pit workers at the time of the 1984 coal miners’ strike: an era when bis were especially invisible and scapegoated within gay and straight communities alike.
Find out more here on Facebook.
It’s Bi Visibility Day on Tuesday and all week we (and a host of other bi organisations) will be championing different aspects of our community and bi experience. In the UK there is a modern thread of some 33 years of bi organising since the launch of the London Bisexual Group in September 1981.
The Bisexual History Project runs the @bisexualhistory twitter account which gives a daily snippet of bi life from years gone by: whether ‘bi community’ or in the public eye, long gone or recent history.
They are always looking for extra dates to add to their calendar so if you have any bi history to add to the mix, drop them a line.
All their twitter dates are cross-posted to the facebook page too.
Get in touch via Facebook or Twitter to get involved or add your dates.