Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has visited a school praised for its work on homophobic bullying to discuss the issue with students and parents.
Blatchington Mill in Hove has been named a “champion school” the the gay charity Stonewall for its anti-bullying work.
It has elected three student equality commissioners in order to tackle the problem of homophobic bullying.
Mr Miliband, in visiting the school today, addressed both students and parents to discuss these achievements and other issues related to homophobia.
He held a question and answer session with students in the Nevill Avenue school’s theatre.
“Recognition from someone as high profile as Ed Miliband is really important,” said pupil Rosie Bradley.
The 14-year-old said: “It is important to get the word out that it is OK to accept diversity.
“I had one incident a little while ago when someone came up to me and said, ‘I am being picked on because of my sexuality’.
“I went and told a teacher and he told me how to approach it and it is now being handled.
“That person came up to me a couple of months later and said, ‘Thank you – my life is a lot easier now.”
Ed Miliband recently wrote for Pinknews.co.uk on the issue of both gay and trans bullying in schools. He said: “Despite progress on equal marriage there is still more to be done. The terrible death of Lucy Meadows highlighted the prejudice faced by the trans community.
“Too many young people still fear to come out at school due to bullying. In too many places in the world it is still a crime to be gay.”
Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Equalities wrote on PinkNews.co.uk: “Homophobic bullying is still a serious problem in schools and the workplace. We still have to do more to deliver in practice the equality we fought for in the law.
“That’s why I think schools should do more to talk to young people about equal respect and healthy relationships – building on the impressive work of Schools Out which is all about celebrating young people’s identity whatever their sexuality.”
Writing on PinkNews.co.uk, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Our city has been at the forefront of the drive towards equality, but let’s not rest on our laurels – of course more needs to be done to tackle prejudice and discrimination. This means standing up against homophobic bullying in the workplace, schools and elsewhere.”