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Young less likely to suffer bullying over sexuality than decade ago, says report

Stonewall said that while the findings showed an improvement for young people in many ways, there is still much more to do.

Young people are now less likely to be bullied because of their sexual orientation than 10 years ago, but many youngsters are still at risk, according to a report.

Over the last decade, the proportion facing bullying in Britain’s secondary schools and colleges has dropped by almost a third, according to the latest Stonewall School Report.

In addition, schools are becoming more likely to say that homophobic bullying is wrong, and children are more likely to be taught about LGBT issues in the classroom.

But there are still concerns about the proportion of youngsters who do find themselves the victim of bullying, and the impact this has on them, with many LGBT youngsters admitting to self-harming and even attempting to take their own life.

Stonewall said that while the findings showed an improvement for young people in many ways, there is still much more to do.

Overall, nearly half (45%) of the 3,700 LGBT youngsters polled said they have been bullied because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, compared with 55% of LGB who said they were bullied because of their sexual orientation in 2012 and 65% in 2007.

In previous years, the reports questioned young people who identified as lesbian, gay and bi (LGB), not specifically trans.

Homophobic language is still widespread, with 52% saying they hear remarks such as “faggot” or “lezza” frequently, or often, in school, although this has also dropped from 68% in 2012 and 71% in 2007.

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CEO of Stonewall Ruth Hunt (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Over two thirds (68%) of those questioned said their school says homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from 50% in 2012 and 25% 10 years ago. And around two fifths (40%) said they have never been taught about LGBT issues, down from 53% five years ago and 70% in 2007.

The report goes on to warn that poor mental health among LGBT pupils is still “alarmingly high”, with 84% of those who identify as trans saying they have self-harmed, along with 61% of lesbian, gay and bi students.

More than two in five trans young people (45%) said they have attempted to take their own life, while just over one in five (22%) of lesbian, gay and bi students who are not trans have done the same.

Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt said: “Our school years are one of the most formative periods of our lives, and we owe it to young LGBT people to ensure 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 an improved experience for pupils in many ways, it also needs to act as a wake-up call for schools, government and politicians on just how far we still have to go. Almost half of LGBT young people are still bullied at school for being LGBT, and only one in five LGBT pupils have learned about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships. This must be urgently addressed.”

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