Monday, November 23, 2015

Students "Stand Up!" to homophobic bullying

by Mark Quinn

The 7th annual “Stand Up!” week was launched this morning in St Nessan’s Community College, Limerick by the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan.

The campaign runs until Friday 27th November and aims to address homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and youth services by encouraging friendship and a positive understanding of LGBT young people.

“Stand Up!” provides teachers and youth workers with information and materials that helps them to engage in a positive way with the issues that LGBT young people face.

Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Sullivan said that her department is deeply committed to tackling this type of bullying in schools:

“I urge every post-primary school to take part in this important initiative. It continues to go from strength-to-strength each year and is a great campaign, with benefits for students and entire school communities.” 

Photos: Alan Place Photograph
The campaign is run by BeLonG To, Ireland’s national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people.

Moninne Griffith, executive director of BeLonG To, said that the recent change to the constitution recognising equal marriage rights for same sex couples is a cause for optimism. However, there is still much work to be done to embed that into a cultural change that young people notice in their everyday lives:

“Even when you introduce marriage equality, homophobia and transphobia don’t just go away over-night. You have to keep working on it and investing in projects that tackle it and that’s what ‘Stand Up!’ does.