More than 150,000 students in the UK have been bullied at secondary school because they are gay, a new survey found.
Over two thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have been victimised by homophobic bullying, with abuse ranging from verbal abuse to violence to death threats at the hands of students and staff alike. Of those, 92 per cent (143,000) have experienced verbal bullying, 41 per cent (64,000) physical bullying and 17 per cent (26,000) death threats.
The study also discovered that that half of teachers did not intervene when students used homophobic language, using derogatory labels like “dyke”, “queer” or “rug muncher”.
Catherine, 13, from a single sex independent school (South East) explained that “ teachers join in on the joke’.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said “These deeply disturbing figures should serve as a wake-up call to everyone working in education.”
“This is a damning legacy of Section 28, which deterred schools from tackling anti-gay bullying for so long. This remains one of the few sorts of bullying about which too many schools still take no action. It blights the lives not just of gay children but of thousands of pupils perceived to be lesbian or gay too.”
The Stonewall survey polled 1,145 young people and found that 7/10 of those who have experienced homophobic bullying said it has adversely affected their school work. Half of those bullied say they have missed school as a result.
Ali, 17, from a secondary school in London said, “On three occasions I’ve been assaulted and had to go to hospital to be examined and get the police involved”.
‘People call me ‘gay’ everyday, sometimes people kick me and push me, they shut me out of games during school gym and they steal my belongings, “ said James, 17, from a secondary school in the South West.
Stonewall’s survey is the largest poll of young gay people ever conducted in the UK.
This story was first published on Gay.com