No child should fear homophobic bullying

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London Mayor Ken Livingstone spells out his opposition to homophobic bullying.

There is evidence that despite significant progress for lesbian and gay people in recent years, homophobic bullying in schools is on the increase.

Many of our schools, supported by hardworking teachers and governors, offer hundreds of thousands of London children the opportunity to maximise their life chances.

However, talking to pupils, parents and teachers from across the capital, I have become increasingly concerned that many LGB young people are being denied the opportunity to achieve their academic potential because of homophobic bullies.

There are many extreme examples of violent and unpleasant homophobic bullying, but we also have a huge mountain to climb to eliminate the so-called low level abuse, such as using terms like ‘gay’ negatively.

Pupils should not be bullied because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

With this in mind, I am very pleased that a new anti-homo- phobic bullying DVD resource will be distributed this month to all London’s secondary schools and other professionals who work with young people.

Spell It Out has been produced as part of an ongoing partnership with Stonewall’s ‘Education for All’ campaign, a national campaign programme to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

I am determined that all London’s children grow up with a fitting sense of self-worth and self-confidence. I hope the DVD will motivate London school staff to work together to tackle homophobic bullying and make London’s schools safer and more pleasant for everyone.

Ken Livingstone is the Mayor of London

This article first appeared in the November issue of The Pink News which is out now.