Government Ministers Join Forces to Stand Up Against Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying

Government Ministers Join Forces to Stand Up Against Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Today, Thursday, November 9th, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD joined forces to Stand Up for LGBTI+ students across Ireland.

According to 2017 research (1), 70% of young LGBTI+ people do not feel safe at school.

For eight years now, Stand Up Awareness Week, organised by BeLonG To Youth Services, has a been a time for second level schools to take a stand against the anti-LGBTI+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling that silences many students and can result in serious mental health challenges.

Stand Up Awareness Week runs from November 13th-17th and is the largest anti LGTBI+ bullying campaign in Ireland, with 35% of secondary schools participating in last year’s initiative.

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, TD said: “Despite major social changes for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland in recent years, our young LGBTI+ people still face challenges including bullying at school. As Minister, I am keen to do everything I can to ensure our education system is as inclusive as possible and my Department is deeply committed to tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying.

I am proud to launch Stand Up Week 2017 in support of all LGBTI+ students in second level education. I urge all second level schools to join this important initiative, and encourage students to stand up for their LGBTI+ friends. By starting a conversation about LGBTI+ inclusivity at school, we are creating safe spaces for our students to learn.”

Minister Katherine Zappone, TD commented: “I have been privileged to listen to thousands of young voices this year as part of the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy – which is being finalised and will be a world first. Sadly many continue to face bullying, discrimination and isolation.

One in five LGBTI+ young people say they are confronted with harassment in the classroom, schoolyard and the wider community. This can have harrowing effects on mental health. I urge all second-level schools in Ireland to join this initiative and Stand Up against homophobic and transphobic bullying.”

Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services said: “During Stand Up Week, students, teachers and school communities across Ireland will stand up for their LGBTI+ friends and take a stand against LGBTI+ bullying and harassment. Stand Up week is also an opportunity for schools to look at how they can make them safe and supportive places for LGBTI+ students. It is unacceptable that one in five young LGBTI+ people face bullying, and that 70% of young LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school2. Students, parents and teachers want this to change. 

Growing up LGBTI+ doesn’t need to be painful and challenging. But not being accepted for who you are can have serious impacts on the mental health of our young people. LGTBI+ young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide, and two times more likely to self-harm than their non LGBTI+ friends. We are delighted that over 35% of schools across Ireland engage with BeLonG To’s Stand Up week against homophobic and transphobic bullying, but more work needs to be done so LGBTI+ students are safe, protected and feel that they belong. The upcoming LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy gives us an opportunity to make this happen.

For further information on how to get involved with #Standup2017, visit www.belongto.org/standup

Ends

Interview request: Moninne Griffith, Executive Director, BeLonG To Youth Services is available for interview. To arrange an interview, please contact Sinead Keane, BeLonG To Youth Services: 087 768 0389  or sinead@belongto.org

Notes to Editors:

Photographer, Tommy Clancy has been booked for free repro pictures: 087 2309947 tommyclancypics@gmail.com

Join the conversation: @BeLonG_To #Standup17

Stand Up Awareness Week runs from November 13th-17th, 2017. BeLonG To Youth Services has distributed Stand Up packs to all second-level schools in Ireland and hopes that more school than ever join the initiative and highlight to students that their school is a safe space for LGBTI+ students. For Stand Up Week, BeLonG To is calling on all second-level schools across Ireland to join the initiative. Download a free resource pack and school poster at www.belongto.org/standup

BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland. 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 also advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people, and offers a specialised LGBTI+ youth service with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside drug and alcohol outreach.

  1. Budding Burning Issues Survey, August 2017. The Budding Burning Issues survey is a spin-off from Burning Issues 2, the largest ever survey of LGBT+ people in Ireland, carried out by GCN’s publishers, the National LGBT+ Federation in 2016. Download Burning Issues 2here.