Education International
Education International

UK: Homophobic bullying still a problem for LGBT teachers

published 5 March 2013 updated 6 March 2013

The overwhelming majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teachers have experienced bullying and harassment related to their sexuality during their careers. This is according to a conference organised by one of EI’s affiliates in England, NASUWT.

LGBT teachers from across the country gathered for the NASUWT’s LGBT Consultation Conference on 23 February in Birmingham. They discussed the challenges facing teachers, the impact of the Government’s policies on children and young people, and how to enhance LGBT awareness by engaging in professional development workshops.

Key findings More than 60 per cent of LGBT teachers have experienced discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity in the course of their teaching careers

  • Over three-quarters of LGBT teachers had experienced bullying and harassment during their teaching careers
  • Six out of 10 LGBT teachers said their school has no policy which explicitly opposes homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • Two-thirds of LGBT teachers said it was not safe for LGBT teachers to be out at work

At the Conference, it was agreed that NASUWT representatives will meet with Government ministers throughout the UK to discuss how they intend to address the concerns raised.

Challenging stereotypes For EI, homophobic bullying refers to bullying that is motivated by resentment towards individuals perceived to be ’homosexual, or who do not conform to the stereotypical standards of masculine or feminine behaviour’. EI, therefore, recognises homophobia as an expression of broader and historical gender inequalities.

“In too many countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to face criminal sanctions, killings, violence or torture, hate crimes, rape and gender-based violence,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.

“It is clear from the feedback we receive from educators that there is a still a huge amount of work to do in schools to create a climate where all teachers feel respected and safe, regardless of their sexuality.”

To access the 2011 EI Resolution on respect for diversity, please click here