• Homophobic Bullying

    BeLonG To is committed to working with government and education stakeholders to end homophobic bullying in Irish schools.

    BeLonG To has worked on a number policy initiatives to end homophobic and transphobic bullying and to ensure that LGBT young people are safe and supported in their education. Here are a few examples of this work.

    Our first initiative was the SO GAY! campaign in 2004. As well as providing young people with information about sexuality and gender identity, it also allowed us to open up conversations with government agencies and education stakeholders. In particular a positive and long lasting working relationship with the Equality Authority and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors developed from this work.

    In order to to further place homophobic bullying on the education agenda we partnered with the Children's Research Centre in 2006 to co-host an international seminar on the issues. The seminar offered teachers and representative bodies a platform to safely discuss the issue and allowed BeLonG To to present the real-life experiences of LGBT young people in Irish schools.

    Later in 2006 we launched the Stop Homophobic in School Bullying Campaign with the Equality Authority, which was endorsed by the TUI, ASTI, The National Association of Principals, the Gardai, Irish Secondary Students Union and the National Parents Council. It was the largest LGBT campaign of any kind at that time. This campaign, which was launched by Minister for Youth Affairs Sile De Valera, allowed for greater direct contact with the Department of Education and Science and involvement in work on Whole School Evaluations and bulying templates.

    In 2009 we worked with The Office for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) for them to prioritise tackling homophobic bullying.  Some of the outcomes of this work include The OMCYA, the National Youth Work Advisory Committee and BeLonG To producing Anti-Homophobic Bullying Guidelines for the Youth Sector.

    Further policy work on homophobic bullying and it's impacts on LGBT young people includes:

    2009: Oireachtas Committes on Education – presentied with GLEN on the experiences of LGBT young people in Education in Ireland.

    2009: Oireachtas Working Group on Early School Leaving - supported research by the group and supported the production of the committee's report.

    2009: Joint Training Program for Schools Launched  - BeLonG To is working in partnership with the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals, the Equality Authority and GLEN to deliver training to principals and schools to assist them in addressing homophobia and  homophobic bullying in Irish schools.

    2009: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launches BeLonG To’s First Strategic Plan – The strategic plan run's from 2009 - 2011 and includes the creation of an annual LGBT Awareness Week for young people – to be launched in 2010.

    2010: Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week – BeLonG To launches the first ever LGBT Awareess week in Ireland, Stand Up! Show support for your LGBT friends. The first year of the campaign focuses on the Youth Work Sector.

    2010: Homophobic Bullying Guidelines – BeLonG To and the Office of the Minister for Children launch Homophobic Bullying Guidelines for the Youth Work Sector in Ireland.