Title: Bullying: Recent UK Developments Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 9th September 2016 - 12:15pm1473380100 Article: 18765 Rights
In Gay Times (September 2016), Ross Semple gives us an interesting look at what we can expect to see happen as anti-bullying concerns increase their significance for our legislative and institutional reform agenda. Even in a pluralist, inclusive society like the modern United Kingdom, the Stonewall UK 2014 Teachers Report noted that eighty six percent of surveyed secondary school teachers saw the existence of anti-LGBT bullying in everyday student peer interactions, while eighty nine percent had heard the word 'gay' used in a pejorative sense. School days weren't happy times for many LGBT adults, especially in anti-LGBT religious schools, which give covert sanction to harrassment, ostracism and exclusion, which can escalate into interpersonal violence against identified or outed LGBT students. Much of this was attributable to Clause 28 of the UK Local Government Act 1988, which prevented curricular discussion of LGBT issues at secondary schools, or service provision to LGBT students at that context. Although Sexuality and Relationship Education is now on the UK curriculum, educational provision is devolved to local authorities in the United Kingdom and is also non-compulsory, so it amounts to post office box address lotto whether or not LGBT youth receive support, information and inclusion within current SRE formats. Still, with its Equality Awards, Stonewall does intend to celebrate inclusive schools and local authorities, such as this year's winner, the Hertfordshire County Council and Herts for Education, its provider. At Stonewall's recent Education for All conference, one of the issues discussed was safe space. Is it the case that LGBT designated spaces protect LGBT youth? Semple notes that some of those interviewed for his article felt that SRE classes should be safe spaces if students wanted to come out, although that was contingent on there also being a right to privacy if some closeted students didn't feel safe enough as yet. Stonewall UK and Facebook have also opened a "Be Kind Online" anti-cyberbullying campaign, given that one quarter of LGBT youth experience online homophobic/transphobic bullying. Violent anti-LGBT events such as the Orlando shooting tragedy earlier this year can also make LGBT youth feel marginalised, given that the shooting occurred at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, which was supposed to be a safe space. If LGBT people were vulnerable there, then are they safe in other relative havens such as London, San Francisco, Berlin or Auckland? Senior school personnel also need to demonstrate their support. All in all, an interesting peek into our own future. Recommended: Ross Semple: "School's Out"Gay Times(September 2016):31-35 Stonewall UK: education-for-all-conference Craig Young - 9th September 2016    
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