Stonewall today launched a major new anti-bullying campaign aimed at young people in schools across England.
Backed by Dr Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman, the campaign will see posters, stickers and postcards with the legend Some People Are Gay. Get Over It! sent to all 5,000 secondary schools in England in advance of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, November 19-23.
The powerful statement and bold design, developed together with over 100 secondary school pupils and teachers, have been devised as part of Stonewall’s Education for All programme.
Supported by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the campaign aims to send an uncompromising message that schools should take a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to homophobia and homophobic bullying.
John Barrowman urged all school pupils to give their support.
“Join me in Stonewall’s Education for All campaign and help exterminate homophobia,” he said.
“Be bold. Be brave. Be a buddy not a bully.”
Johan Jensen, Education Officer at Stonewall, told PinkNews.co.uk:
“Young people tell us they want schools to take a strong stance against homophobic bullying.
“These materials send a clear message to pupils and staff that homophobia in schools is no longer acceptable.”
The School Pack follows on from Stonewall’s wide-ranging study into homophobic bullying published in June this year, entitled The School Report.
Nearly two thirds of LGB students reported instances of homopbobic harassment it revealed.
That figure jumps to 75% of young gay people attending faith schools.
The survey of more than 1,100 young people found that only 23% of all UK schools explicitly condemn homophobic bullying.
92% of gay, lesbian and bisexual pupils have experienced verbal abuse, 41% physical bullying and 17% have been subject to death threats.
30% of pupils reported that adults have been responsible for incidents of homophobic bullying in their schools.
Nearly every interviewed student had heard phrases like, ‘You’re so gay’, and remarks like ‘poof’ and ‘dyke’ in UK schools.
Kevin Brennan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families, told PinkNews.co.uk in July that the government wants to eradicate homophobia in education.
“The guidance is strong, it has got the full force of the government behind it,” he said.
“We are committed to making sure that every school implements the guidance.
“We don’t like to simply put bureaucratic requirements on schools without the evidence that that is needed so at this stage it remains guidance. We will be monitoring its implementation.”
The School Pack also complements the Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance for school staff on preventing and responding to homophobic bullying in schools, written by Stonewall.