Approximately 41% of Britain’s gay teens have been physically attacked for being gay, says a new survey.
Britain’s Schools Health Education Unit also found that out of 150,000 students, 17% claim they’ve received death threats. One fearful 16-year old reported,
I was once threatened by a friend’s brother over an instant message that he would beat me to death on the streets if he saw me or torch my house whilst I’m sleeping in it.
Another student, meanwhile, says he can’t tell teachers about the abuse because he doesn’t want to come out.
Popular culture and policy would suggest the Western world’s moving away from homophobia. Of course, we all know that ain’t the case. Gay activist Ben Summerskill blames Section 28 – the UK’s anti-gay law banning “promotion” or “endorsement” of homosexuality. That law may have been overturned in 2003, but it’s hateful legacy lives on, says Summerskill: 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.” In light of the survey, education officials insist they’ll work harder to combat homophobia:
All forms of bullying are unacceptable. We are pleased that Stonewall have highlighted this important issue and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. It is important that pupils tell someone when they are being bullied and that teachers take firm action. That is why we have given new powers to teachers to ensure they can do so. No pupil should suffer the torment of bullying.
All teachers will now come equipped with a book on anti-gay warning signs, a bullhorn and patented anti-anti-gay laser beams. When a punk’s picking on a pansy, the professor looks, aims and zaps them away. Easy as pie…