An initiative to help drive out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools is being launched today by Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson, during Anti-Bullying Week.
At BiMedia we think this is the first time the UK government has mentioned biphobia in its LGBT work. The LGB&T Action Plan launched at the start of 2011 was notable for only referencing work to tackle homophobia and transphobia.
Jo Swinson said:“Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying has serious consequences – it can affect children’s well-being, lead to poor educational performance and prevent them getting ahead in life.
“It’s completely unacceptable that young people are experiencing this type of derogatory treatment.
“This new project will help us to fully understand the issues and develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools and others to stamp out this harmful behaviour.”
Recent statistics from Stonewall reveal that, in 2012, more than half (55 per cent) of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people surveyed said they experienced homophobic bullying at school, while over two-thirds (68 per cent) reported that they heard homophobic language often or frequently. Only three in ten (31 per cent) said their school responds quickly to homophobic bullying when it occurs.
Stonewall’s research didn’t separate out biphobia or look at transphobia, but it is unlikely schools are more welcoming to bi or trans pupils.
The project announced today seeks to understand fully how to reduce the prevalence and impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying among school-age children and young people. To start this programme of work, organisations are being invited to bid for funding to conduct a full review of all the available evidence and existing practices currently in place in schools to tackle this issue.
The new initiative will build on existing work to tackle bullying in schools including publishing updated advice and guidance for schools and governing bodies; and schools having greater legal powers to tackle bad behaviour and cyber-bullying.