Nicky Morgan on LGBT bullying: “I know that the job isn’t done yet”

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has admitted that the government still has a long way to go if it plans to end LGBT bullying in schools, saying “I know that the job isn’t done yet.”

Morgan was speaking at Stonewall’s annual Education Conference, which aims to draw attention to the bullying and discrimination that LGBT young people still face in Britain’s schools today.

Although Morgan stated that she was proud of the progress her party has made so far, she also confessed that the government, and the public, still have a long way to go.

Discussing Section 28, she said: “… it is a matter of great pride for me that one of David Cameron’s early acts as leader of the party was to apologise on behalf of the Conservatives for having introduced it [Section 28].”

“I want every single LGBT young person to know that I am on their side, and that this government will do everything it can to make sure that their time in school is a happy one, that allows them to be themselves and achieve all that they are capable of.

“As a nation we can be very proud of all that we’ve done to make our country fairer, more equal and more tolerant – and we should all pay tribute to the heroes, the brave men and women of the equality movement who have made that happen.

“But you know, and I know that the job isn’t done yet.”

Stonewall’s research shows that homophobic bullying and language in schools continues to be widespread. Other research shows that the experience of trans young people can often be even worse.

Morgan pledged the government would dedicate a further £2 million towards tackling the issue. She also promised to review PSHE education, to ensure it plays “a real role in tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools” and “that schools are teaching it well and are confident in what they should be teaching.”

Focusing on the issues that the trans community face, Morgan also highlighted Stonewall’s recent inclusion of the trans community in the work that they do.

“I want to do more work to tackle discrimination against trans young people.

“I’m delighted that Stonewall is now trans inclusive and look forward to working closely with you as your programme of work evolves in this area.”

She also discussed how she changed her mind regarding same sex marriage – something she initially spoke about at the PinkNews Awards last year – and praised Stonewall for their successes in changing people’s perceptions of the LGBT community.

“What changed my mind, was talking to same-sex couples and understanding just how important being married was to them.

“It’s hard to think of a single charity that has been quite so effective in securing what it set out to do, and that is in no small part down to the approach that they [Stonewall] have taken – not lecturing, slamming doors or boycotting, but by bringing people with them.

“Because working together we can ensure that we don’t just tackle homophobia in our classroom, but on our streets.”

Last month, Morgan warned that children with homophobic views could be showing warning signs of extremism.

Read a copy of today’s full speech here.