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Minister for Children Launches BeLonG To’s Strategic Plan

Minister for Children Launches BeLonG To’s Strategic Plan 

Saturday, 23 May 2009 

Minister Barry Andrews called for action to stop homophobic bullying and launched our campaign to support LGBT young people. Minister for Children and Youth Affairs says that Homophobic Bullying is widespread and needs to be tackled and launches BeLonG To’s new three-year campaign. 

Within the same month  Minister Barry Andrews called for action to stop homophobic bullying in school and launched and endorsed BeLonG To’s campaign to support LGBT young people. 

Homophobic Bullying needs to be tackled: 

Children’s Minister Barry Andrews said homophobic bullying had to be tackled, but revealed schools might be very reluctant to discuss the issue in classrooms. 

We absolutely have to challenge it because it can result in young people, who are trying to come to terms with their sexual orientation, self harming or worse and that’s not acceptable,” he said. 

There are a lot of people who would consider this to be inappropriate in certain schools.” 

I think some places don’t even have proper sexual education never mind discussions about the danger of homophobic bullying so we do have a bit work to do.” 

Mr Andrews said he was concerned over reports teachers have victimised youngsters over their sexual orientation. 

If it exists at all it’s a real worry to me,” said Mr Andrews. 

I was a school teacher myself and I find it hard to believe that teachers would be, in the first instance, that ignorant about homosexuality but also to bully children about it.” 

It’s certainly something I would bring up with the Department (of Education). 

Launching and endorsing BeLonG To’s Campaign May 23th the Minister said: 

I’m delighted to endorse BeLonG To’s Strategic Plan.”  

The speeches that were made this morning by Wendy and Patrick were absolutely, I don’t want to plamas you, but when I was that age I certainly couldn’t speak to such a big group of people much less about your identity and your sexuality. To have that confidence, that in itself is an endorsement of what Belong To does.”  

I was a school teacher myself for seven years and we had no training or discussions about LGBT young people at all and we didn’t understand how to react to circumstances that might arise… and it is something that we do have to tackle in schools. We have to try to give schools guidelines and make teachers more aware.” 

“So, we’ve come a long way … but there’s an awful lot to do in this area. So, tribute has to be paid to all the staff that work here for having such vision. Certainly my door is open to BeLonG To in the future as the Minister for Youth Affairs, I hope to continue our partnership.” 

You can read more about BeLonG To’s Strategic Plan Here.