European Parliament fights homophobic bullying

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The European Parliament has launched a report on social exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people.

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) taking part at the launch agreed to draw up a declaration to stop homophobic behaviour in schools.

MEPs from the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights committed to take a lead on this initiative.

It seeks to develop an agenda on how young LGBT people in Europe should be protected against discrimination occurring in different spheres of life, after the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s-Europe (ILGA-Europe) and the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation’s (IGLYO) joint publication on social exclusion of LGBT young people added pressure for MEPs to act.

This is none too soon after the joint efforts of gay charity Stonewall and the Mayor of London’s ‘Spell It Out’ anti-homophobic bullying campaign, aiming to tackle and stamp-out homophobic bullying in schools nationwide, launched in July.

Patricia Prendiville, director ILGA-Europe stated on the ILGA-Europe website: “We are happy that the concerns arising from the report are taken up seriously by the European Parliament. It became clear that <…> there is a clear need to protect young people from discrimination whilst in education. We will formulate concrete measures which will support LGBT young people in becoming full citizens of their societies.”

Over 700 young LGBT people from 37 European countries took part in the research, conclusively reporting back that LGBT young people face high amounts of prejudice and discrimination in every day life with 61.2% facing discrimination at school, 51.2% in family life, and 29.8% in their own circle of friends.

The report clearly demonstrates that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity undermines young LGBT people’s capacity to be socially included and to become active citizens.

The report found need for further support to LGBT youth. “Young people first need to be able to build up their self-confidence, especially in those places where they are not accepted and their rights are not recognised. Like other young people, LGBT young people are the future work force of the European Union, that’s why the European Union should actively support LGBT young people,” Björn van Roozendaal, board member of IGLYO said.