Schoolchildren in Birmingham have been taking part in workshops to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.
The charity Stonewall says more than half of young people who are gay, say they’re bullied. The organisers of the workshops say they want to change this and make young people feel that it is good to be different.
The root of bullying is very simply lack of education, if they [children] see the words ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ or ‘trans’ written anywhere they are going to laugh. Our job as educators is to educate our young people about difference and actually give our young people facts because that’s what they need. They need to know the definitions – what does lesbian mean? What does gay mean?
– ELLY BARNES, LGBT SCHOOLS ADVISOR, BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL
Many of the children we spoke to heard the term ‘gay’ being used in the classroom or in the playground. Most of them said they would tell their teacher if they were being bullied. Some said they would not because then their classmates would think they were a ‘snitch.’
Teachers definitely need to feel more at east speaking about it. We all had training about how to approach the subject. That’s really helped us and it’s definitely helped me as a teacher to be able to approach someone if they use a term in a negative way. Also, if we put across that we shouldn’t be saying that word then children are going to feel it’s wrong to have those feelings in the first place.
– MICHELLE DAWKES, TEACHER