the stonewall school’s report

Nearly half of LGBT pupils (45 per cent) – including 64 per cent of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBT in Britain’s schools. This is down from 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi pupils who experienced bullying because of their sexual orientation in 2012 and 65 per cent in 2007 

  • Half of LGBT pupils hear homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school, down from seven in 10 in 2012

  • Seven in 10 LGBT pupils report that their school says that homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from half in 2012 and a quarter in 2007. However, just two in five LGBT pupils report that their schools say that transphobic bullying is wrong

  • Just one in five LGBT pupils have been taught about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships

  • More than four in five trans young people have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans

  • More than two in five trans young people have attempted to take their own life, and one in five lesbian, gay and bi students who aren’t trans have done the same

We can, and must do better.

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What is HBT Bullying?

Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic (HBT) bullying is bullying that is directed at someone who is perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

HBT bullying may often involve language which is dismissed as ‘just a joke’ or ‘banter’, but it is usually harmful language specifically directed at another individual, or group of individuals. It is the targeting of young individuals who are:

  • Perceived to be LGBT

  • Known to be LGBT

  • Have family who are LGBT

As with all bullying, it can take many forms. It can be carried out physically, verbally, emotionally or online. HBT bullying can often lead to young LGBT internalising homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, leading them to believe that there is ‘something wrong with them’, or that ‘no one will like them’. This can have a disastrous impact on their education, with many opting to avoid going to school to not have to experience the bullying. In extreme cases, it can even lead to self harming and attempting suicide.

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How do we tackle HBT bullying?

Representation matters. All educational establishments need to celebrate diversity in all its forms. There are many opportunities, every day, for organisations to do so - and it’s the little things that count. Students notice when an educational environment promotes an inclusive environment, and their language and behaviour reflects that.

Teachers, parents and carers should be alert to behaviour and attitudes. We need to focus on fostering an environment where young people feel confident in speaking out about HBT bullying. This can be achieved by implementing clear procedures to tackle it when it occurs, however, preventative measures are vital. Young people should be given the resources with which to understand, recognise and, where appropriate, challenge prejudice in all its forms.

However, teachers should not have to tackle these issues on their own. A supportive leadership structure is required, combined with a school ethos that celebrates and embraces difference.

Drag Queen Story Time aims to act as a resource to support this. By providing representation of LGBT individuals, who are proud of who they are and successful in what they do, DQST is able to give young LGBT people role models to look up to. Furthermore, our performances have often been used to begin the process of discussing these topics - in a way that comes up naturally, rather than forced.