Half of LGBT youngsters bullied at school

Schoolyard bullying web

Stonewall Scotland has revealed the extent of abuse that young people face

26th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Half of LGBT school pupils are still being bullied, a study has shown.

Stonewall Scotland, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has revealed that despite progress for LGBT people, many youngsters are at risk in Scottish schools.         

Conducted in partnership with the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, the charity’s School Report Scotland surveyed more than 400 lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people aged 11-19 living in Scotland. It found that 48% of LGBT young people and 71% of trans young people are being bullied for who they are. 

LGBT young people in Scotland are more likely to hear homophobic language than the rest in Britain, with 63% hearing homophobic slurs regularly or often in Scotland compared to 50% in the rest of Britain.

The report also shows that LGBT young people continue to have alarming rates of poor mental health. Nearly all trans young people in Scotland (96%) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (58%).

More than two in five trans young people in Scotland (43%) have attempted to take their own life, and one in four lesbian, gay and bi students who aren’t trans (24%) have done the same.

The report also found that nearly one in twenty (5%) LGBT young people in Scotland are subjected to death threats.

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Our school years are one of the most formative periods of our lives, and we owe it to young LGBT people to ensure that they don’t face discrimination or bullying because of who they are, but are supported to flourish and achieve.

“While our new school report shows some modest improvements for LGBT pupils it quite clearly demonstrates how far we still have to go.

"Half of LGBT young people in Scotland are still bullied for who they are, affecting their wellbeing and their education. Worryingly, the majority of trans young people experience bullying, exclusion and poor mental health. They must not be left behind.”

Macfarlane said the report needs to act as a wake-up call for schools, local authorities, government and politicians to ensure that all  schools are equipped to support LGBT young people, and that teachers understand their needs.

The study also showed that two in five LGBT young people in Scottish schools (41%) are never taught anything about LGBT issues in school. Just one in five (22%) LGBT young people have been taught about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships.

Fergus McMillan, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said: "LGBT Youth Scotland has, for many years, been working in partnership with schools across Scotland to advise on policies that promote inclusive learning environments and tackle bullying.

“Stonewall Scotland’s research aligns with our own experience, in face-to-face and online youth work, that while a number of schools have taken proactive and bold steps in recent years, we still have a long way to go to improve the education experience for LGBTI young people in Scotland."