What is Homo/Bi/Transphobic Bullying
“Homophobic bullying is when a young person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation/gender identity is used to exclude, threaten, hurt, or humiliate him or her. It can also be more indirect: homophobic language and jokes… can create a climate of homophobia which indirectly excludes, threatens, hurts, or humiliates young people.” LGBT Youth Scotland ‘Dealing with homophobia and homophobic bullying in Scottish schools’ page 9 (http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/LGBTNov11_tcm4-512286.pdf)
“Homophobic bullying relates to a defining element of a person’s identity, targeting his or her ‘inner being’. It is similar to sexist bullying or racist bullying in this way. Young people’s sexual orientations or gender identities are not a choice but an innate part of who they are. Bullying on these grounds is an example of prejudice based bullying.
Any young person can be homophobically bullied, whether they are LGBT or not. Sometimes young people can be homophobically bullied because others think that they are LGBT, because they have LGBT family or friends or often because they are seen as different or not conforming to traditional gender stereotypes – not a ‘proper boy’ or a ‘proper girl’.” LGBT Youth Scotland ‘Dealing with homophobia and homophobic bullying in Scottish schools’ page 17
Homophobic/Biphobic/Transphobic bullying is not (LGBT youth Scotland page 18):
- A normal part of growing up
- A normal part of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
- The fault of the person being bullied
- A positive way for young people to live, grow up and learn.
What can you do if you’re experiencing bullying at school because of your sexuality or gender identity?
It’s important to remember that even if it isn’t visible, schools have a legal duty of care to every pupil, and since the Equality Act 2010 especially those with a protected characteristic which includes sexual orientation, gender and gender reassignment. See our LGBT youth bill of rights to see what rights LGBTU young people at Allsorts campaign for.
The best thing you can do is tell someone, keeping feelings bottled up inside isn’t good for mental health or wellbeing. Make sure if you tell someone that they are someone you trust, many LGBTU young people don’t report incidents of bullying because of a fear of being outed if they haven’t told anyone about their sexuality and/or gender identity. Before telling staff members or other adults, make sure you ask that they respect your confidentiality and that if you don’t want to tell people about your sexuality or gender identity then you don’t have to.
Is there a teacher or staff member that you feel you can trust?
Before you say anything to them make sure you ask them to keep conversations confidential and remember your rights as a young person. Look for signs that a teacher is inclusive and supportive of LGBTU young people e.g a Allsorts or Stonewall poster on their office or something positive they have said in class.
Can you tell a friend about what you experiencing?
Many LGBTU young people come out to close friends first and they can often be the most supportive and be a really good ally. They can help you gain the confidence to tell someone who can intervene when bullying is taking place.
Try contacting a local LGBT youth organisation!
There are charities and organisations like Allsorts around the country and sometimes all it takes is a quick search in Google. Almost all of these will either have trained youth support workers or advice/guidance on how to respond to bullying and work with staff at your school to make sure your wellbeing is a top priority. If you can’t find an LGBT youth organisation try a generic organisation, they might be able to point you in the right direction or offer interim support.
Remember that bullying isn’t a part of growing up as LGBTU!
It may seem that going to school/college/uni every day is the last thing you want to do, but there are people in positions to do something against prejudice bullying. Schools are getting better at challenging homo/bi/transphobia and there is always people that can help.
Who can I contact?
- Allsorts Youth Project – contact us – All of our youth support workers are trained in supporting LGBTU young people who may be experiencing bullying at school because of their sexuality and/or gender identity. We also have a specific trans youth support team who can give specialist advice and support to trans* or gender questioning young people.
- If you are under 19 ChildLine 0800 11 11 (http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx)
- Brighton LGBT Switchboard: 01273 204050 (5-9pm weekdays) (http://www.switchboard.org.uk/
- Childline ‘Advice on Cyber-Bullying (http://www.childline.org.uk/explore/bullying/pages/cyberbullying.aspx)
- London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard: 0300 330 0630 (10am-11pm daily) They also do an instant messaging support service online. (http://switchboard.lgbt/help/#)
- Stonewall: 08000 502020 (http://www.youngstonewall.org.uk/get_support/)
- Facebook Bullying & Family Safety Centre to report bullying on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/help/420576171311103/)
- Bullying.co.uk ‘advice and safety tips on using Bebo, Facebook, Myspace, twitter and YouTube (http://www.bullying.co.uk/advice/safety-tips-bebo-facebook-myspace-and-youtube-read-more-safety-tips-bebo-facebook-myspace-and)
Resources & Links
- Allsorts & BHCC Healthy Schools Team ‘Safe Spaces for all children and young people – challenging homophobic language’ (http://www.school-portal.co.uk/GroupDownloadFile.asp?GroupId=891984&ResourceId=3600704)
- Stonewall ‘Supporting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People’ (http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/education_resources/4534.asp)
- LGBT Youth Scotland ‘Some Phobias Sense Make Don’t’ (https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/files/documents/CHT-snap-fax.pdf)
- LGBT Youth Scotland ‘What’s the Difference?’ (https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/files/documents/01_LGBT_NYC/LGBT_Policy_Priorities/Whats_The_Difference/Whats_The_Difference_-2011.pdf)
- Schools Out ‘The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBT) and Ally’s guide: creating change at young school’ (http://schools-out.org.uk/STK/Docs/LGBTstudentguide.pdf)
- LGBTYNW Th!nk – Trans* Education Action (http://www.lgbtyouthnorthwest.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Trans-Guide.pdf)
- Intercom Trust ‘Cornwall Schools Transgender Guide’ (http://www.lgbtqyouthcornwall.co.uk/images/TransGuidance/CornwallSchoolsTransgenderGuidance.pdf)
- Gendered Intelligence ‘A guide for young trans people in the UK (http://cdn0.genderedintelligence.co.uk/2012/11/17/17-15-02-A-Guide-For-Young-People.pdf)