HOMOPHOBIA IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR

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Conference
Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual & Transgender Conference 2005
Date
29 July 2005
Decision

Conference notes with concern growing levels of homophobia – particularly against young people – and the refusal of most schools and other education facilities to acknowledge that discrimination and inequality is an issue. Figures indicate that 72% of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual adults reported a regular history of absenteeism at school due to homophobic harassment. 50% who had been bullied at school had contemplated self-harm or suicide – 40% had made at least one attempt to self-harm.

Conference congratulates all groups, organisations and individuals who are working on a daily basis to eradicate homophobia in schools and throughout society. Conference also notes the work of “Education for All”, a coalituion of trade unions, including UNISON, and other groups, that sets out to ensure that all students receive equality whilst at school.

Conference also recognises the potential of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 – which places a statutory duty on public bodies to have due regard to promote equality of opportunity on the basis of sexual orientation – as an equality model that should be replicated in Great Britain to tackle this issue.

Conference calls on UNISON to:

1.Lobby Government to ensure that diversity training is made available to students and staff in all education facilities;

2.Fully support all LGBT organisations who are working to tackle discrimination and bullying against young people in education;

3.Raise the profile of this issue with Government, educational facilities and the wide public.