People who are disabled and gay are likely to suffer from shocking levels of homophobic bullying.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance warned about the high levels of bullying as it publishes new resources for school staff to help tackle the homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying of disabled young people.
While over half of children who identify as LGBT have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying, this drastically increases among disabled LGBT people.
A survey found that two thirds (66%) of children with disabilities or SEN had experienced homophobic bullying, compared to 55% of the general population.
Concerns were also raised about the lack of sex and relationship education – which does not adequately address LGBT issues, nor sex and disability.
One student observed: “Sex education for disabled young people… There is none.”
Lauren Seager-Smith, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance said: “We are very concerned by reports of dual discrimination, bullying and marginalisation experienced by disabled young people that identify as LGBT+.
“There are clear steps we can take to change the situation – we must listen to disabled young people in our schools and act on their recommendations, fight for statutory sex and relationships education that is inclusive of all young people, and make sure our anti-bullying initiatives do not exclude those children most at risk.”
Jonathan Charlesworth, Executive Director of the National Children’s Bureau said: “More research is needed which looks at the prejudice facing young people who fall into both of these minority groups.
“We must focus on a whole-school approach to combating the issue; with comprehensive anti-bullying policies – which specifically reference prejudiced based bullying, and proper sex and relationships education which doesn’t focus solely on heterosexual sex, relationships and sexual health and which is tailored, appropriate and accessible for disabled children and those with SEN.
“Today, every forward-looking school strives to support all its pupils not regardless of but because of their pupils’ and staff’s diverse sexuality, gender, identity, race, faith or ability.
“We hope these new resources will help schools support disabled children and those with special educational needs so they do not have to suffer the lasting harm that comes from being bullied.”