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Gay Youth Service Welcomes Minister for Children’s Call for Homophobic Bullying to Be Tackled

Gay Youth Service Welcomes Minister for Children’s Call for Homophobic Bullying to Be Tackled 

Tuesday, 16 June 2009 

BeLonG To Youth Services for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people strongly welcomes a call for tackling homophobic bullying, made by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, TD.  

Speaking at the launch of the report, Teenage Mental Health: What helps what hurts, Minister Andrews said, “Homophobic bullying is widespread and must be tackled.” He also indicated that his office is working closely with BeLonG To to design significant interventions to stamp out such bullying and to support LGBT young people.  

Speaking at the event, Michael Barron, Director of BeLonG To said, “Homophobic bullying is indeed widespread in our schools and communities. Our experience, backed up by major Irish research shows that the majority of LGBT young people are being bullied in school – a situation which leads to early school leaving and worryingly poor mental health. The support being offered by Minister Andrews and his Office is vitally important to LGBT young people throughout the country. It sends out a clear message that they should not have to accept such treatment and that they are important and valued in our society.”  

At BeLonG To we are presently working in partnership with the Office for the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) on a major campaign to tackle homophobia in Irish schools and youth services. Being launched towards the end of 2009, it will be a three-year initiative – building on our 2006 Stop Homophobic Bullying in School campaign.”   

Supporting LGBT Lives a major national study of mental health and LGBT people, funded by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention and co-commissioned by BeLonG To, with GLEN, found widespread very negative experiences in school: 

  • 58% reported the existence of homophobic bullying in their school 
  • Over half had been called abusive names related to their sexual orientation or gender identity by fellow students 
  • 40% had been verbally threatened by fellow students 
  • 25% of the overall sample had been physically threatened by their school peers 
  • 20% missed or skipped school because they felt threatened or were afraid of getting hurt at schools 
  • 34% reported homophobic comments by teachers or other staff members