LGBT Youth Scotland calls for strong leadership to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in Scottish schools

During anti-bullying week, LGBT Youth Scotland and the ‘Time for Inclusive Education’ campaign call for improved responses to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in Scottish schools.

Evidence continues to show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people experience high rates of bullying in Scottish schools and that they are not confident in reporting this to school staff. The impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can be devastating; with many young people reporting that they experience poor mental health, low confidence and self-esteem, as a direct result of bullying incidents. Many LGBT young people also leave education early as a result of bullying incidents or due to homophobia within the school environment. LGBT Youth Scotland’s  research also shows that transgender young people have a particularly difficult time at school and face even higher levels of bullying than their LGB peers.

During anti-bullying week, LGBT Youth Scotland calls for strong and effective leadership from schools, local authorities and at a national level; guidance and resources to support teachers’ practice; and improved regulation and inspection of schools in the area of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. We recognise that there is good work happening in schools but there needs to be improved consistency, with all schools required to ensure that LGBT young people feel safe and included.

Chief Executive, Fergus McMillan said:

‘We want to see an education where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people report feeling included in their school, have their lives reflected in the curriculum and  are free from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.’

‘We therefore support the principles of the Time for Inclusive Education Campaign and call on school leadership and policy makers at all levels to focus on fully implementing the Equality Act (2010) to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all. In addition, we want to see Curriculum for Excellence being used as a way to develop an inclusive and affirming school curriculum, including effective relationships and sexual health education that represents the lived-experience of LGBT young people today.’

Megan McIntyre, Member of LGBT Youth Scotland’s National Youth Council commented:

‘There’s not enough teacher support and you don’t get taken very seriously if you’re experiencing homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying. In class if there’s a case of racism the teacher deals with it straight away, but with homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying it’s treated differently.’

‘I had to move school because they wouldn’t deal with bullying at all. Once I moved, my new school wasn’t much better. As a result my attendance dropped, as I didn’t want to be there. I wasn’t in a good place. If I’d had a more positive experience at school I wouldn’t have come away hating school and hating the education system, and I think I would have gotten better grades.’

A ‘Time for Inclusive Education’ spokesperson said:

‘We are clear that any programme of LGBTI inclusive education and teacher training must be delivered consistently across all schools without exception - we feel that this is best achieved through training, curricular inclusion, recording and monitoring incidents and a legislative process, to ensure that no child is left behind. Now truly is the time for inclusive education, and we must take new steps to get there.

‘We are delighted that LGBT Youth Scotland (LGBT YS) have pledged their support to our campaign.’


1/ LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland: www.lgbtyouth.org.uk

2/LGBT Youth Scotland is a company limited by guarantee (No 244805) with charitable status (SC024047). Registered at 40 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6JD

3/ LGBT Youth Scotland’s Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Education Report’ can be found here: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/pro-research-scottish-schools

4/ LGBT Youth Scotland’s ‘Improving the Lives of LGBTI Young People’ Manifesto can be found here: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/files/documents/LGBTYS_Manifesto_2016.pdf

5/ More information on the Time for Inclusive Education Campaign, including their pledges and research can be found here: http://www.tiecampaign.co.uk/

6/ Anti-bullying week in Scotland is co-ordinated by respectme in partnership with Young Scot. http://respectme.org.uk/

7/ Images available at this link https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7o4c73ikl1dolws/AAChvvHXK5m-jJzsx6oBwRE7a?dl=0

8/ Press contact Cara Spence – 0131 555 3940 or cara.spence@lgbtyouth.org.uk