On Friday last (11th November) the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, joined BeLonG To, the National LGBT+ Youth Organisation, to launch #StandUp2016 the largest anti-LGBT bullying campaign in Ireland.
According to research, 1 in 3 young LGBT people aged 14 – 18 have attempted to take their own lives because of bullying, rejection, and pressure to hide who they really are. The findings make the strong case that young people are being left behind as Ireland becomes more progressive and inclusive of the LGBT community.
Now in its seventh year, Stand Up Week runs this week from Nov 14 – 18. 25% of post primary schools in Ireland participated last year making it one of the most important anti-bullying initiatives in the post primary school calendar. The Minister and BeLonG To are calling on even more post primary schools to participate this year to help address the issue.
Bullying puts the mental health, wellbeing, and potential of LGBT students at serious risk. Students are still reporting high levels of LGBT bullying in Irish post-primary schools. 67% of LGBT+ young people witnessed bullying of other LGBT students, and over 50% of them personally experienced bullying. One in four missed or skipped school to avoid negative treatment due to being LGBT+.
Moninne Griffith, Executive Director, BeLonG To said:
‘Despite the great progress we have made in Ireland with equality legislation and marriage equality, most LGBT students are still facing very tough situations in their schools – rejection, bullying and pressures to hide who they really are. This has devastating impacts on their levels of self-harm and suicide. BeLonG To is calling teachers and parents to mind the mental health of LGBT students– join #StandUp2016 and help build safe and supportive schools.”
Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education said:
“I am pleased to stand here at the launch of Stand Up Week 2016 in support of all LGBT students in our second level schools across Ireland. I encourage every post primary school in Ireland to get involved in this excellent initiative to empower students to support their LGBT+ friends. My Department has provided funding for this initiative since 2013 as part of the implementation of the Action Plan on Bullying. We will be working hard over the coming year to continue to advance the Action Plan on Bullying and with Minister Zappone on the LGBT Youth Strategy.”