It's not only lesbian, gay, bi and trans students who are affected by homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying or language - anyone perceived as different can be targeted. FE colleges, with their diverse students, can be especially challenging environments for tackling these issues.
Colleges often include students of different ages and cultures and with different levels of understanding. Students may be taking full or part-time courses on site, visiting the college for short or one-off courses, undertaking work placements or learning remotely. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to promoting diversity in a college and that the approach needed is often different to that used in secondary schools and sixth forms.
LGBT students entering college may have experienced bullying previously at school. The School Report found that one in three gay young people who are bullied consider changing their future educational plans because of it, for instance by deciding not to go to university or college. Colleges which take steps to combat homophobic bullying and promote their work in this area, will encourage these young people to carry on in education and to apply to study at their institutions.
Why should my college join?
Colleges have a duty to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, and they cannot discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or perceived gender identity against a student, teacher or other members of staff.
The law requires colleges to be proactive in preventing bullying and creating a learning environment which supports all students. The Equality Act (2010) requires all public bodies, including colleges, to eradicate discrimination, advance equality and foster good relations - this means preventing and tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language and talking about difference in college.
You will help your students reach their potential. Celebrating difference and tackling lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) related bullying helps to promote an environment for students that is conducive to optimal learning and development. By working with Stonewall Cymru to mitigate the worst harms of homophobic and gender identity bullying, you can help push your students towards their academic goals.
You will empower your staff. It can be challenging to tackle homophobic bullying and gender stereotyping in colleges. Nine out of ten teachers say they have not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Stonewall Cymru can empower your teachers by giving expert and tailored advice.