Stand Up Awareness Week takes place this year from November 11th to 15th. Stand Up is an anti-LGBT-bullying campaign that involves secondary schools across Ireland. We caught up with Sinead Keane from BeLonG To Youth Services to hear about their Stand Up Awareness campaign and the results of their School Climate Survey which were released on Tuesday, November 12th. After 10 years of Stand Up, it is encouraging to see so many schools involved, but there is still a lot of work to do in order to make our schools safe and supportive of LGBT+ people.
The results of the School Climate Survey show that a majority of LGBTI young people are still struggling in school, with many experiencing mental health issues, physical and verbal harassment, and feelings of isolation.
BeLonG To are calling on the Department of Education to take urgent action and to “enforce the implementation of anti-bullying policies in schools and invest in teacher training to create the understanding and knowledge needed to support LGBTI+ students.”
Speaking at the launch of the report, CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services Moninne Griffith said “This research must act as a wakeup call for the government, schools, politicians, parents and students. Minister for Education, Joe McHugh needs to take immediate action and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of LGBTI+ students who are seriously at risk. The government cannot continue to ignore the risk posed to LGBTI+ students – real political action is needed. This must stop now.”
As Sinead emphasises in the video above, it’s not too late to get involved. You can find resources and information about how to support LGBTI young people at belongto.org and you can find LGBTI youth groups listed here