The Home Secretary joined the Speaker of the House of Commons last night to help launch a new charity aimed at tackling homophobic bullying in schools.
Numerous gay MPs and public figures attended the official Diversity Role Models launch at the Palace of Westminster.
The organisation will provide free workshops to UK schools, with role models who will “demonstrate is that it’s OK to be different”.
Both straight and gay role models will speak to students about promoting diversity in a bid to lower 66% incidence rate of bullying for LGBT students.
Patrons include Roger Crouch, named Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award last week. Mr Crouch’s son, Dominic, committed suicide in homophobia bullying at his school.
Suran Dickson, the organisation’s Founder and Chief Executive said: “Many LGBT people have told me their lives were horrendous at school, that if one person had given them, or their peers, a positive message about gay people, it would have made a huge difference.
“It was this feedback, coupled with my personal sadness at the tragic loss of Dominic Crouch’s life, amongst others, that led me to form Diversity Role Models. Our purpose is simple – to give hope of a
happy future to young people who may be LGB or T and to create understanding in their peers by gently challenging the misconceptions about gay people which often lead to bullying.”
Home Secretary Theresa May, said: “Homophobic and transphobic bullying has no place in schools, which is why it is so important that schools are able to challenge such prejudiced views.
“The Government is improving anti-bullying guidance for teachers to tackle all forms of bullying as well as working with schools to combat cyber bullying.
“Diversity Role Models is a great example of helping young people to understand and accept diversity, and I fully support its work.”
Roger Crouch, the father of Dominic Crouch, added: “Since our son Dominic took his own life, my wife Paola and I have been campaigning against bullying in all its forms and working to help prevent suicide, especially by young people. But despite some very real progress, bullying of young people based on their real or perceived sexuality remains a huge issue in schools and elsewhere.
“Youngsters who are, or who are seen to be gay are far more likely to be the targets of bullying than almost any other group of young people and the use of homophobic language in schools is widespread and too often unchallenged.
“Our message to schools is that they must create a safe environment with dignity and respect for all pupils; our plea to Government is to require all schools to have a zero approach.”