France combats anti-LGBT bullying with new school campaign
A new campaign in France is aiming to tackle anti-LGBT+ bullying in middle and high schools across the country.
France’s Ministry for Education and Youth launched a new campaign today called All Equal, All Allies, which will see all state schools putting up posters and providing guides about LGBT+ issues.
SOS Homophobie – a French organisation that works to combat homophobia – welcomed the campaign, saying it sent a positive message to LGBT+ youth.
Homophobia is a ‘daily reality’
The group said that anti-LGBT+ bullying is a daily reality for thousands of students throughout France. A report released by SOS Homophobie last year found that there had been a 38 percent increase in reports of homophobic acts in schools.
SOS Homophobie hopes that both public and private schools in France will welcome the campaign so that it can reach as many students as possible.
In a post on their website, France’s Ministry for Education and Youth said they are determined to fight “all forms of discrimination and violence, including those of a homophobic or transphobic nature.”
The website now helps direct students to services they can access if they have experienced or witnessed a homophobic or transphobic incident.
There is also a section for staff, which helps them by offering a live-chat and phone number they can call to get support and to act appropriately when dealing with homophobia and transphobia.
Homophobic attacks in France
Last year saw a number of high profile homophobic attacks taking place in France.
In October, a 34 year old gay man was tricked into going to an afterparty with two men in France. Once he got into a car with them, one of them started hitting him furiously.
“Punches in the face, on the body, everywhere. The strength was such that my head was bouncing against the window like a ball. I was scared, I didn’t know what was happening, I thought I was going to die,” he told to GayViking.
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He was subjected to violence and homophobic slurs for two hours.
The violent attack led SOS Homophobie to call for an introduction of policies such as a national awareness campaign about homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.
SOS Homophobie reported that there had been a 14 percent increase in reports of anti-LGBT physical assaults between 2017 and 2018 in France.
Earlier in October, a gay rights activist in France was attacked after leaving a restaurant with a group of LGBT+ people.
Guillaume Melanie of Urgence Homophobie had his nose broken, and was told by his attacker: “You’re just a dirty faggot.” He continued: “You should all be burned.”