Business Leaders Come Together to Help Tackle Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying

Business Leaders Come Together to Help Tackle Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying 

Friday, 19 July 2013  

Lead by business woman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Danielle Ryan, key Irish business figures came together at an event in the Lir Theatre Dublin on Thursday July 18th to  support a crucial fight to eliminate homophobic bullying in our schools. 

The event marked the launch of the Super Hero Network which aims to raise €200,000 over 12 months to support the vital anti-homophobic bullying work of BeLonG To – Ireland’s national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people.  Building on the success of the internationally acclaimed Stand Up! Campaign, BeLonG To’s Super Hero Network will bring together business leaders and social entrepreneurs from Ireland, the UK and America who can use their powers of influence and means to transform the landscape for LGBT young people in Ireland to deliver a 5th ground breaking campaign. 

This work includes bringing BeLonG To’s Stand Up Don’t Stand for Homophobic or Transphobic Bullying to all all primary and secondary schools in Ireland next year and providing direct support to over 3,500 LGBT young people across the country.  This year’s campaign was praised by the Department of Education as a critical part of the National Anti-Bullying Action Plan, and in 2012, BeLonG To’s Stand Up! Video reached 1 million viewers on YouTube, making it the most viewed Irish online PSA ever.  

Speaking at the event Danielle Ryan said: 

I am delighted to join forces with BeLonG To to launch this campaign. The work that BeLonG To do is vital. Ireland should take responsibility for the happiness of its young people but unfortunately too many LGBT young people experience harrassment and bullying just because of who they are”. 

It is estimated that there are over 50,000 LGBT young people living in Ireland today. While attitudes are changing through education led by BeLonG To, it can still be a terribly isolating and vulnerable time in a young person’s life. 

  • 58% of young LGBT people report homophobic bullying in their school
  • Over 50% have been called abusive names related to their LGBT identity
  • 40% are verbally threatened by classmates
  • 25% are physically threatened by school peers
  • 34% report homophobic comments from teachers
  • 20% miss school because they are afraid

Also speaking at the event BeLonG To Director and Founder Michael Barron said: 

Half of all LGBT young people in Ireland have seriously thought about ending their lives. In modern Ireland, that is a fact that can’t be ignored. We would like to say a huge thank you to Danielle Ryan and her family for the support and  commitment they have shown LGBT young people. Her generosity in launching our Super Hero Network is particularly appreciated, as it marks a new phase in our work to end homophobic and transphobic bullying in our schools where business leaders will help us take our campaign to both primary and secondary schools for the first time. The Network is a gathering of committed extraordinary individuals who are dedicated to protecting the right of every LGBT young person in Ireland to grow up safe and respected. 

Speaking about the impact of BeLonG To’s Stand Up Campaign, Alison (16) said: 

I felt so alone. So isolated. And then one day I was walking down my school corridor and I saw a poster. It was about standing up for lesbian young people. That was me. The poster was about me. And in that moment I knew things would be ok. I joined BeLonG To and now I have so many friends and my life is so much better”.  

If you would like to find out more information or become a SuperHero email us on SuperHero@belongto.org