It's not cool to be cruel: LGBT Youth Scotland response

LGBT Youth Scotland's response to the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee inquiry into prejudice based bullying and harassment. 

LGBT Youth Scotland welcomes the recommendations following the inquiry of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, outlined in the report ‘It’s not cool to be cruel’: Prejudiced based bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools. LGBT Youth Scotland submitted evidence to the committee which clearly shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people experience high rates of bullying in Scottish schools and that this can have a devastating effect on their health and wellbeing and their ability to learn.

Specifically the report recommends that ‘all teachers should get the right training in tackling prejudice based bullying’. This is certainly needed, as teachers tell us that they lack confidence to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. LGBT Youth Scotland is inundated with requests for teacher training and last year alone provided training to 1,500 teachers.

The report also calls for ‘mandatory recording of bullying incidents’ and recommends that this is included in the HMIe school inspection framework. Any approach to recording incidents must include homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and should take into account children and young people’s rights. It is important to ensure that LGBTI young people’s views are at the centre of interventions and that the monitoring and recording of bullying incidents do not needlessly ‘out’ young people to their family or carers.

Moving forward we hope that Scottish Government will effectively resource prejudice based bullying interventions and build on existing good practice in schools. This should include those schools that have completed or are working toward their LGBT Schools Charter of Rights.

There are several resources which are set to be published by LGBT Youth Scotland in the new school term which will support practice to address prejudice based bullying including:

  • Addressing Inclusion – A resource on addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying developed by LGBT Youth Scotland and respectme

  • Meeting the Needs of Trans Young People: Guidance for Scottish Schools – Guidance on effectively supporting and including transgender young people 

LGBT Youth Scotland looks forward to the publication of Respect for All, the national approach to anti-bullying, and are committed to working with the Scottish Government to meaningfully address prejudice based bullying and to improve the lives of LGBTI young people in Scotland.