More than one in three (35 per cent) young people have been called gay or lesbian as an insult, according to the new survey from The Diana Award charity. The Independent reports.
The poll, of children aged between 11 and 16, found that nearly half of young people (43 per cent) have heard their friends use language that is discriminatory or negative towards being LGBT+.
The survey also reveals that 45 per cent of young people have heard their friends use discriminatory or negative language towards other students about their race or skin colour.
The charity, which is launching a partnership with musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, is urging schools to celebrate what makes pupils unique during Anti-Bullying Week (12-16 November).
Just last week, singer Will Young called for action over the “misappropriation of the word gay” in the classroom. He accused ministers in recent years of doing nothing to tackle the issue.
Alex Holmes, deputy CEO of The Diana Award, said:“We are calling on schools to do more this Anti-Bullying Week to tackle all forms of bullying, particularly in light of this research.”
Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, head of education programmes at LGBT+ rights’ group Stonewall, said: “In schools that teach about LGBT issues, LGBT young people are more likely to feel welcomed, included and accepted. A crucial part of tackling these challenges is equipping schools with the tools they need to tackle bullying and deliver an LGBT-inclusive curriculum.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Schools decide the kind of society that we have, they transform children into citizens of the world, and if we aren’t getting the treatment of LGBT+ pupils and teachers right in schools then we won’t be getting it right in society.”
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