New Stonewall Scotland research on LGBT bullying in Scottish schools

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

Conducted in partnership with the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, Stonewall Scotland’s School Report Scotland, which surveyed more than 400 lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people aged 11-19 living in Scotland, has found that 48 per cent of LGBT young people and 71 per cent of trans young people 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 per cent hearing homophobic slurs ‘regularly’ or ‘often’ in Scotland compared to just 50 per cent 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 per cent) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (58 per cent).

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

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

Two in five LGBT young people in Scottish schools (41 per cent) are never taught anything about LGBT issues in school. Just one in five (22 per cent) LGBT young people have been taught about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships, demonstrating the desperate need for age-appropriate LGBT-inclusive Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) in all schools.

Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said: “Over the last five years Stonewall Scotland has worked with hundreds of schools to combat anti-LGBT bullying and create inclusive learning environments for all our young people.

“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.

“More than two in five LGBT young people have been the target of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying online.

“This 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.”

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.”

Read the full School Report Scotland, and find out what you can do to have a positive impact on the lives of young LGBT people, by visiting www.stonewallscotland.org.uk/schoolreportscotland