The new chair of anti-bullying charity Diversity Role Models says bullying will continue until ‘gay sexuality becomes visible in schools’.

The charity, which launched last year, tackles homophobic bullying by organising workshops with schools which feature positive role models.

Suran Dickson, the Chief Executive, told PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year the number of students who said they would stop being friends with someone who came out to them as gay dropped from 50 percent at the start of a workshop to 2 percent at the end.

Now, the charity has announced Simon Blake OBE’s appointment as chair after fifteen years at the Family Planning Association, the Sex Education Forum and the National Children’s Bureau. Since 2006 he has been chief executive of Brook, a sexual health charity for young people.

He has it is necessary to “make sexuality human” if anti-homophobic bullying efforts are to be successful.

Mr Blake said: “Evidence shows we will continue to breed bullying and fear unless gay sexuality becomes visible in schools. We need openness in the playground, in the classroom and in the behaviour of teachers. Make sexuality human and it becomes an issue of fairness – something young people feel passionately about.

“People have their different personal beliefs about sex and sexuality, but the law is clear about gay sexuality. It is vital in a modern society that young people learn that bullying is wrong and that diversity is not something to be afraid of.

“Schools should be teaching what the law is, what people think about sexuality and how young people can protect themselves as they start to enjoy how they feel, and DRM helps them do exactly that.”

Mr Blake established Anti-Bullying Week as a leader of the Anti-Bullying Alliance. He advises the Department of Health on sexual health and children’s health and also chairs Compact Voice, a national body representing the voluntary sector in relations with the Government.

He was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to the voluntary sector and young people.

Outgoing chair, Jean Balfour, oversaw the formation and launch. She will remain a member of the board of Diversity Role Models.

She said: “We are already having an impact. We are changing attitudes and that is reducing the impact of prejudice on youngsters. What we need now is Simon’s robust experience of leading charities in the education field to find a model that meets demand from schools and teachers.”

Chief executive of Diversity Role Models, Suran Dickson, added: “Simon’s experience of leading a charity will strengthen our fundraising, growth and operational strategies, but empathy is almost as important as knowledge. His thorough understanding of the issues facing young people will underpin everything we do as we build our capacity.”