Lesbian campaigner, Sue Sanders, is encouraging schools in Croydon to promote gay and lesbian rights in order to combat the issue of homophobia and bullying.
Sanders is one of the founders of Schools OUT an activist group campaigning for gay rights and challenging homophobia. Speaking at Friends’ Meeting House in Croydon she said: “We are not sorted in our schools. Recent studies suggest that our young LGBT people are fifty per cent more likely than other young people, to attempt suicide”.
Sanders’ current campaign for equality in the classroom is a response to the increase in suicides in the LGBT community.
She said: “ I saw the power of Black History month and I saw what it did to schools”. Ms Sanders aims to prevent homophobia and discrimination against minority groups in schools. She said: “It all needs to begin in the classroom”.
Sanders addresses the need for schools and teachers to include equality in the curriculum and school activities for Lesbian, Gay transexual and bi-sexual young people, ‘If they recognize different groups of people across the curriculum and start celebrating diversity and becoming aware and not frightened of differences in the community, ignorance just wouldn’t exist in society.”
A survey by Stonewall, a lobbying group that aims to prevent attacks on the LGBT community found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. Organizations such as Stonewall and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are trying to minimise homophobic abuse and educate teachers on how to tackle the issue in the classroom.
Lorna Hunt of The Bridge LGBT youth club in Croydon said that in some cases teachers are more homophobic than the pupils.
She also said: ‘Some teachers are unconfident about tackling the issue of homophobia’.
Sanders added that the reception of the campaign against homophobia and inequality in schools in Croydon varies. While some schools are willing to combat homophobia and bullying in schools, others are not, however her goal is to eliminate bullying and abuse and establish equality in the classrooms and schools for LGBT people and other minority groups.