Opinion Former Article

Homophobia still blighting lives of teachers and pupils

Over half of teachers have experienced some form of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia during their teaching career, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Less than half of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teachers at the NASUWT’s LGBT Teachers’ Consultation Conference today (Saturday) in Birmingham said their school takes the issue of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia against either teachers or pupils seriously.

A real-time electronic poll of members attending the Conference found that:

  • Over half (56%) said they had experienced homophobia, bi phobia and transphobia during their teaching career;
  • Nearly half (44%) have experienced the word gay being used in a derogatory or offensive manner in schools;
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) have had to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity at school;
  • More than one in ten (12%) have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic verbal abuse at school;
  • Only a third said that they believe teachers can be out and safe in schools;
  • Less than half said that their school takes the issue of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia against pupils or teachers seriously;
  • More training for school staff on tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools would make the biggest difference in tackling the problem;
  • 95% said the Coalition Government’s decision not to equalise pension survivor benefits to civil partners or same sex couples on cost grounds is unjustified;
  • Less than a quarter said the Coalition Government’s record on advancing LGBT equality was good or very good.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, who addressed the Conference, said:

“It is scandalous that in the 21st century teachers are still reporting that homophobia is still an issue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pupils and staff and that many LGBT teachers do not feel safe in their schools .

“Despite assertions to the contrary, the Coalition Government has rolled back the progress made over decades on equality and we see the adverse impact this is having on teachers and pupils in our schools.


“Post the General Election, we need a government which is committed to creating a climate in our schools where all children and young people and staff feel respected and safe."
 



Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
NASUWT
0121 457 6250/07867 392746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk

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