Second-level schools take a stand against LGBTI+ related bullying during Stand Up Awareness Week

BeLonG To Youth Services, the national LGBTI+ youth organisation, today has called for all second level students in Ireland to be an ally and stand up for the LGBTI+ community by using words that have the power to heal, not hurt. BeLonG To has recruited supporters including MEP Maria Walsh, designer and broadcaster Brendan Courtney, actress Lola Petticrew and TikTok stars Shauna Fay and Chris Murphy to support their campaign. With the support of sponsors the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland and RTE 2FM, a short film has been made to highlight the effect of cruel words on teens.

This is the 12th annual Stand Up Awareness Week which takes place from Monday November 15th to Friday November 19th. Stand Up Awareness Week, Ireland’s largest anti LGBTI+ bullying campaign in Ireland, with 68% of second-level schools participating in last year’s event.

For 12 years now, Stand Up Awareness Week has been a time for second-level schools to take a stand against the anti-LGBTI+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling that hurts, harms and shames many students and can result in serious mental health challenges. As part of Stand Up Awareness Week, every second-level school and Youthreach in Ireland has been given a free resource pack with information, activities and advice to create an LGBTI+ friendly school environment. Stand Up Awareness Week is in association with In The Company Of Huskies, TBWA Dublin, BBDO, Publicis, Goosebump, Mindshare, Elevate PR, Verve and Core agencies, with support from Motherland, Algorithm and Mutiny.

BeLonG To is asking social media users to change your profile image on Facebook or tag BeLonG To and use our stickers on Instagram stories to show your support or visit www.belongto.org/comein and pledge to use words that heal, not hurt.

Minister for Education, Norma Foley said: “‘As Minster for Education I believe in cultivating a learning environment that provides an enticing, vibrant and fully inclusive school experience where all children can grow and thrive.

“I welcome the 2021 Stand Up Awareness Week Campaign and I hope it will be a week that all students value and celebrate the principles of respect, inclusion and equality for everyone and in particular their fellow LGBTI students.

“In line with the theme of this year’s Stand Up Campaign, I hope that long after the week has ended, they will make that true for each and every student, working together with their schools, their parents and the wider school community.”

Brendan Courtney, designer and broadcaster said: Homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic bullying can cause serious mental health challenges for students. When I was a teenager being different was enough reason to be tortured, bullied and verbally abused. At the time it was a very dark place for a 14-year-old me and I was terrified to tell anyone, eventually I told my mum and she was amazing.

“We’re asking schools to show their support and join in for Stand Up Awareness Week to highlight the effect cruel words can have on teenagers. Be an ally and stand up for the LGBTI+ community by using words that have the power to heal, not hurt.”

Shauna Fay, TikTok content creator, said: “Being part of the LGBT community while in school came with its challenges. It wasn’t always a walk in the park and often I was met with derogatory words or insulting phrases but luckily for me, my friends were always there for me and always took the time to learn and educate themselves on my community. I’m very grateful for them!”

Moninne Griffith (she/her), CEO BeLonG To Youth Services said: “Stand Up Awareness Week is a time for all second level schools to take action against homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic bullying and show they welcome, value, and support LGBTI+ students. Supportive schools improve academic performance, attendance, and mental health outcomes for all students. We saw a huge increase in the number of schools joining us for Stand Up Awareness Week last year, and hope that more schools will join the campaign this year to prioritise creating safe school environments for LGBTI+ youth.”

Show your support and Come In, so nobody has to come out.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

 

  • Broadcaster Brendan Courtney, TikTok content creator Shauna Fay and BeLonG To CEO, Moninne Griffith and Maria Walsh MEP are available for interview. To arrange an interview, please contact rachel@elevate.ie or emma@elevate.ie on 016625652
  • Stand Up Awareness Week runs from November 15th-19th BeLonG To Youth Services has distributed Stand Up Awareness Week Resource Packs and Posters to all second-level schools in Ireland. To access these free resources including curricular-based activity ideas, visit www.belongto.org
  • BeLonG To Youth Services is a national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex young people. Since 2003, BeLonG To has worked with LGBTI+ young people to create a world where they are equal, safe, and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. The organisation advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people and offers a specialised LGBTI+ youth service including crisis counselling with Pieta, information, and the provision of LGBTI+ youth groups across Ireland. BeLonG To supports educators and schools across Ireland. Stand Up Awareness Week is an opportunity for educators and schools across Ireland to avail of teacher training and second level school resources.