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

head and shoulders man smiling

Minister Richard Bruton

Stand Up Awareness Week November 13th-17th

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.

Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, TD stated:

“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.

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 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 added:

“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 70% of young LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school. 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:

(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 the National LGBT+ Federation in 2016.

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