A north London teacher has set up a new charity to tackle homophobia in schools.
Suran Dickson, 34, who has taught in schools in north London and New Zealand for the past 12 years, set up the group to encourage LGBT role models to speak to pupils.
Diversity Role Models holds school talks and workshops for teachers on how to tackle the issue.
According to research by gay rights charity Stonewall, 90 per cent of secondary school teachers and 40 per cent of primary school teachers see homophobic bullying among pupils, but many are unsure of how to deal with the problem.
Ms Dickson said she decided to set up the charity after witnessing anti-gay bullying and hearing of LGBT teen suicides.
She said: “I firmly believe that by providing role models for LGBT young people, we can have a positive effect on the negative statistics. We can give them hope that a happy or successful life with loving friends and family is not out of their reach.
“Enabling whole classes of young people to hear from adults who have no problem with diversity sets an example and encourages all students to be empathetic and accepting.”
The charity says that role models can be LGBT or straight, as long as they “demonstrate is that it’s ok to be different”.
Current role models include Bindya Solanki, a lesbian of Gujarati descent, and Stirling Martin, a gay businessman who speaks about being a bully as a child.
Ms Dickson is seeking funding for the charity.
For more information, visit diversityrolemodels.org