Almost half of trans pupils in UK have attempted suicide, survey finds

Stonewall survey shows eight out of 10 trans young people bullied at school or college have self-harmed, despite instances of LGBT bullying decreasing

Eight out of 10 trans young people have self-harmed and almost half have attempted to kill themselves, according to a significant new study looking at the experiences of LGBT pupils in schools and colleges across the UK.

The survey of more than 3,700 lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people revealed that while LGBT bullying has decreased in the last five years, its impact on young people’s wellbeing and education is profound.

The findings by equality campaigning charity Stonewall are particularly concerning among trans pupils, of whom nearly one in 10 (9%) have received death threats at school, while 84% say they have self-harmed and 45% have tried to take their own lives.

Stonewall’s chief executive, Ruth Hunt, welcomed progress in schools, but said the report should act as “a wake-up call” to schools and politicians, showing how much more still needs to be done to improve LGBT pupils’ experiences.

The Stonewall School Report 2017, conducted in partnership with the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University, found that schools are much more likely to condemn homophobic bullying than in previous years.

Nevertheless, fewer than a third of bullied LGBT pupils (29%) said teachers intervened when they witnessed the bullying and four out of 10 are never taught about LGBT issues at school.

The desperate situation of some LGBT students is revealed in comments they have contributed to the report. Amy, an 18-year-old pupil at a single-sex secondary school in the south-east, said: “I started getting death threats online after I came out. I told my head of year, but they just told me to come off the internet. It carried on for years.”

Ben, 17, who is studying at an FE college in the north-west of England, said: “The bullying went on for over five consecutive years. I ended up developing severe mental health issues and being sectioned twice.”

Thirteen-year-old Louis, who is at school in the south-west, said: “They poured milk on me while asking if I liked it. They said I should kill myself because I had no friends.”

The percentage of pupils who are bullied for being LGBT is down from 55% in 2012 to 45% this year. Use of homophobic language has also decreased, with just over half (52%) of LGBT students hearing homophobic slurs “frequently” or “often” at school, down from 68% in 2012.

And seven in 10 LGBT students report that their school says homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from half in 2012 and just a quarter in 2007.

Launching the report, Hunt said: “Stonewall has worked alongside governments and schools over the last decade to combat anti-LGBT bullying and create inclusive learning environments for young people.

“Our school years are one of the most formative periods of our lives, and we owe it to young LGBT people to ensure they don’t face discrimination or bullying because of who they are, but are supported to flourish and achieve.

“While our new School Report shows an improved experience for pupils in many ways, it also needs to act as a wake-up call for schools, government and politicians on just how far we still have to go.”

The Stonewall report, published on Tuesday, found that just one in five LGBT pupils (20%) have learned about safe sex in relation to same-sex relationships. It also reveals the isolation some pupils feel, with more than half (53%) saying there isn’t an adult in school they can talk to about being LGBT. As 14-year-old Will put it: “I felt alone because I had no one and it scared me.”

Others felt they had no choice but to leave, like George, 16, a pupil at a faith school in Scotland: “I lost confidence and the power to succeed and get the best qualifications. I left because I was scared and I didn’t belong in that environment.”

Max, 17, meanwhile, endured bullying from his entire class. “For the first few months after I came out, entire classes would chant ‘chick with a dick’ at me; in PE people would pull down my shorts and pants, groups petitioned to ban me from using the toilets and changing rooms and joining PE lessons.”

In the absence of sufficient information and support in schools, LGBT pupils go online, with 96% reporting that the internet has helped them to understand more about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, though nearly all (97%) complain of seeing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content online.

Hunt called on the government and schools to include LGBT issues and same-sex relationships as part of new compulsory sex education. “This will not just provide LGBT students with the essential resources and information needed to make safe, informed decisions as they grow up, but will also help to create an inclusive and respectful learning environment.”

She went on: “Our report shows that schools are increasingly willing to address LGBT issues within the classroom. Forty per cent of LGBT young people today say they have never been taught about LGBT issues at school – a sobering statistic, but one showing progress from 2012, when 53% reported the same.”

Original source – Sally Weale, The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/27/half-of-trans-pupils-in-the-uk-tried-to-take-their-own-lives-survey-finds

How to get the Pride rainbow flag reaction on Facebook

Facebook has added a new rainbow flag reaction to its social network for a limited time so users can celebrate Pride month.

The flag, which has been a symbol of the LGBT community since 1978, joins the thumbs up and heart signs as well as excited, shocked, sad and angry emoji as a way to react on Facebook.

But Facebook’s addition isn’t immediately available to all users, which has sparked controversy among people on social media.

The rainbow flag reaction will only appear as an option for users if they like Facebook’s LGBTQ page.

How to get the rainbow flag reaction

  1. Log in to Facebook in the app or on the web
  2. Go to the LGBTQ@Facebook page
  3. Like the page
  4. You might need to log out and log back in again before the reaction appears

The page is the “official LQBTQ resource page for Facebook” and was set up in 2008. It has 14.1 million likes and shares news and information regarding LGBTQ rights and events.

Some users asked if Facebook would consider making the reaction available permanently. It said it is “continuing to bring you the most relevant experiences for the moments you care about” and asked users to provide feedback on its site.

As well as the flag reaction, Facebook has added a new banner that users can place on their profile pictures.

How to add the banner

  1. Log in to your Facebook account
  2. Go to facebook.com/celebratepride
  3. Select the Pride banner you’d like to add and the time you’d like to have it for
  4. Click “Use as Profile Picture”

Google is also celebrating Pride month with the addition of the rainbow flag on LGBTQ-related searches.

Original source – The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/12/get-pride-rainbow-flag-reaction-facebook/

LGBT rights group wants UK passports to include gender neutral ‘X’

British passports should allow people who do not identify as male or female to define themselves as gender neutral ‘X,’ an LGBT rights group says.

Stonewall has warned many people who define themselves as transgender in the UK are “afraid to travel abroad” because they fear intrusive questions or difficulties at passport control, the Independent reports.

“This can be especially worrying for those travelling with children, particularly if they had, or adopted, children when they were legally a different gender.”

Stonewall made the call as part of its five-year plan, ‘A Vision for Change,’ launched on Wednesday. Its aim is to create gender equality for the estimated 650,000 transgender people in the UK.

It says transgender people face unnecessary obstacles in everyday situations because of the way gender is recorded on official documents.

In addition, people who do not consider themselves either male or female face a lack of protection under the law due to the limited gender choice on many official documents.

“Non-binary people are not recognized or protected under law. Official documents ask people to describe their gender as male or female, often providing no other option, even when gender has limited or no relevance to the purpose of the document.

“The International Civil Aviation Organization allows passports to be issued with an ‘X’ gender marker but the UK does not issue these. Not having legal recognition means non-binary people must constantly live as someone they are not.”

The plan also includes proposals for lobbying for a reformed Gender Recognition Act and Equality Act, which would remove “gender reassignment” and “transexual” from legislation – terms it sees as outdated.

Stonewall also wants to produce workplace guides specifically on trans-inclusive policies, improve LGBT inclusion in healthcare and raise more awareness of “transphobic” hate crime so that people know how to report it.

Since 2011, Australian passport holders have been able to choose ‘X’ if their gender is indeterminate.

Stonewall’s passport call comes as banking giant HSBC said it would offer the transgender community a choice of 10 new gender-neutral titles, such as Mx, M and Misc, for their bank accounts.

Original Source – RT – https://www.rt.com/uk/383575-lgbt-passport-gender-neutral/

Charities call for better care for LGBT people with dementia

More research, partnerships and training for health and care professionals is needed to ensure LGBT people with dementia receive appropriate care, according to a new report by the government-backed strategic partner programme (SPP).

The report is the result of a three-year project developed to explore how care professionals can provide appropriate support for LGBT communities across the country and highlights the importance of the specific needs of LGBT people living with dementia.

Gill Boston, SPP manager, said: “The best social care takes people’s needs and meets these holistically. This must include a recognition of people’s sexuality or gender where it is appropriate to do so.

“With rising demand for dementia care, this report provides a call to action for all services to ensure that people are able to access the right person-centred support. Alongside this we need the workforce to be trained and developed by people from LGBT communities themselves.”

Drawing on three example case studies of best practice with LGBT people with dementia, the report suggests strategies for creating stronger dementia care for LGBT people.

According to the findings, there is a significant lack of LGBT-specific research in dementia and dedicated research involving LGBT people and their families is required, along with more robust training for healthcare professionals.

Inspiration for this can be taken from housing association Anchor, which runs a nationally acclaimed LGBT advisory group, open to all LGBT colleagues and residents, who advise Anchor on policies and assist them in writing staff guidance notes, including guidance on acceptable LGBT terms.

Partnership is also highly recommended after staff at a care home in Durham sought advice from community-led charity Gay Advice Darlington/Durham (GADD) on how best to support a transgender resident, leading to strategies and awareness training for staff.

Bob Green, chief executive for Stonewall Housing, part of the National LGB&T Partnership, said they were “delighted” to have been involved in the production of the final report.

He added: “Since going to print we have learned that GADD who are mentioned as a good practice example will be closing in April 2017.

“This reinforces the importance of service providers and commissioners to engage with LGB&T people and their support groups to provide specific services to ensure LGB&T people with dementia receive the best care and support.”

Original Source – Charlie Walker, carehome.co.uk – https://www.carehome.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1583277/Charities-call-for-better-care-LGBT-dementia

Tipping point reached as a majority of MSPs back inclusive education proposal

A MAJORITY of MSPs have backed proposals to provide an education that teaches pupils about the range of sexualities and gender identities in society, making it the first among European parliaments to support such a scheme.

Sixty six MSPs have backed the programme of the Time for Inclusive Education (Tie) campaign, the culmination of their two year fight to win broad public and political support for school level education to tackle the abuse and isolation of LGBT+ youth.

For months the campaigners have been calling on MSPs to back a five point pledge calling for legislation to require schools to implement inclusive education, deal more robustly with instances of homophobic abuse and bullying.

Speaking to CommonSpace a Tie spokesperson said: “It’s a big moment for the campaign and it’s a big moment for Scotland, being the first in country in Europe with a parliamentary mandate for this sort of thing.”

“It is important to recognise that this parliamentary mandate for our calls is a historical moment in the push for equal rights in Scotland. We now look forward to working with MSPs to ensure that the strategy outlined in our pledge is realised, as it is time to end the legacy of Section 28 – once and for all.”

The campaign’s demands are still under consideration in the Scottish parliament’s equality and human rights and education and skills committees. Campaigners hope the parliamentary majority will speed parliamentary process to new legislation.

A landslide of MSPs have backed the campaigns demands since it led an historic LGBT+ Pride procession through Glasgow in 2016. Pressure has increased across Scotland’s parties, including in the ruling SNP, whose leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, has repeatedly prasied the work of the Tie campaign.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “The Scottish Parliament has made herself clear – we support the Tie campaign. We support inclusive education in our schools; we support training and guidance for our teachers; and we support, unequivocally, our young LGBTI pupils who have had the courage to speak out and work with Tie.”

“It’s been an immense privilege to work with the campaign to get to this stage but we all know that there is still more work to be done. I’m glad that across all political divisions, those who have signed the pledge acknowledge that we all must work together to create that safe, secure and tolerant country for our LGBTI young people.”

The Tie campaign has proved a model of activist success. It emerged from the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum and has reshaped the debate about LGBT+ rights in Scotland’s new political era.

The pledge has also be signed up to by 11 MPs and two peers in the House of Lords.

Polling conducted by Tie found that 90 per cent of LGBT+ people have faced persecution at school, and 27 per cent have attempted suicide as a result of bullying.

The five point pledge signed up to by a majority of Scotland’s MSPs

Legislation: New legislation in the lifetime of this current parliamentary term, which outlines a requirement for all schools to be proactive in tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through an inclusive educational approach. Legislation should act to benchmark the three major components of LGBTI inclusive education: inclusion, training and monitoring.

Teacher training: The delivery of a teacher training programme which is free at the point of access and focuses specifically on LGBTI issues, for teachers who are currently serving and student trainee teachers (via Initial Teacher Education).

Curricular inclusion: LGBTI inclusion in individual subject areas, achieved via approved curriculum mapping guidance as well as mandated LGBTI inclusive Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education. Such materials should be accessible for all schools, with a clear requirement of uptake.

Recording of bullying: All local authorities should record specific incidents of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools – in accordance with existing guidance and expectations for the recording of bullying concerning other protected characteristics, such as race.

Monitoring: Monitor any steps that are taken with regards to LGBTI inclusivity in schools.  This should include the collection of data at local authority level, as well as the addition of a specific LGBTI indicator in the Education Scotland school inspections process, in line with HGIOS4.

Source: https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10409/historic-milestone-scottish-parliament-becomes-first-europe-back-lgbt-education

Written By: David Jamieson

Lloyds Banking Group has been named the most inclusive employer in Britain by Stonewall.

LGBT charity Stonewall released its Top 100 Employers list for 2017 today, showcasing the best workplaces for LGBT staff – celebrating some of the pioneering work on diversity issues to help create inclusive workplaces.

Lloyds Banking Group, which came second in 2016, topped the rankings.

The bank was commended for a pioneering policy extending private healthcare benefits for employees to include treatment and support for transgender people – becoming the first major UK company to provide access to private transition treatment.

In addition to running an ad campaign featuring a same-sex proposal, Lloyds also launched a new colleague volunteering programme and formed official partnerships with LGBT organisations and charities, serving as headline sponsor the 2016 PinkNews Awards.

The bank also works with trans youth charity Mermaids, elder LGBT organisation Opening Doors London and the Albert Kennedy Trust, for homeless LGBT youth, volunteering over 1,000 hours and raising £30,000 for them throughout the year.

They’ve also supported Bi Awareness Day and Transgender Day of Visibility, with new training tools, social media campaigns, and by flying the bisexual flag and transgender flags at 35 of their key sites.

Karin Cook, Lloyds Executive Sponsor for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as the leading employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Stonewall Top 100 list.

“As part of our ongoing ambition to help Britain prosper, we are immensely proud to receive this accolade which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to diversity in our workforce by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.”

António Horta Osório, Group Chief Executive, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We are honoured to be recognised by Stonewall as the leading employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“Lloyds Banking Group is committed to supporting diversity in its workforce so that we can harness all of the qualities and talents of our colleagues to achieve our aim of helping Britain prosper.”

Law firm Pinsent Masons came second (up from fifth in 2016), followed by bank J.P. Morgan (41 in 2016).

This year saw 439 organisations take part in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, the highest number in its 12-year history. Each participant must demonstrate their expertise in 10 distinct areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, career development, training, and community engagement.

More than 92,000 staff from across these organisations also took part in an anonymous survey about their employers’ attitudes towards workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain.

The House of Commons made it into the Top 100 for the first time, ranked 28th.

Writing for PinkNews, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I am exceptionally proud that the House of Commons has made such significant progress in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index of top 100 employers, which I have been passionately championing as Speaker of the House of Commons.

“It shows our commitment to providing a workplace where all our staff feel valued and supported. Receiving a coveted place in the Stonewall top 100 sends a strong message about who we are as an organisation. Our aim as a diverse employer is to recruit, retain and promote the best people and to be representative of the society we serve.

“The Stonewall WEI ranking is an important acknowledgement of our commitment to both our staff and the public. The House’s position on this list represents its dedication to improving inclusivity for our people. This could not have been achieved without the ongoing efforts of our Diversity and Inclusion team, the Workplace Equality Network for LGBTIQ people, ParliOUT and its champions at all levels across the organisation.”

Stonewall exec Ruth Hunt said: “Lloyds Banking Group is a trailblazer for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, and an example of a business that consistently ensures that all staff feel empowered and supported, no matter who they are.

“We’ve learned over the last year that nothing is certain – and this extends to human rights. Corporate organisations have the power to influence this and protect LGBT people, and so it is reassuring to see so many private firms represented in our Top 10 and Top 100.

“I’d like to thank all of those organisations that took part in the Index, for each showing a real commitment to LGBT inclusion. These organisations understand the business benefits behind equality and inclusion and, with their continued support, we can together work toward a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.”

Written by Nick Duffy, featured in Pink News – https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/01/19/lloyd-banking-group-named-uks-most-lgbt-friendly-employer/

Asda and The Co-op are the only retailers to have been listed in Stonewall’s list of top 100 LGBT-inclusive employers.

The Top 100 Employers list – created by Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) charity and lobby group – is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace.

The two retailers made significant climbs on the Top 100 list, with Asda jumping from 83 in 2016 to 25 this year, and The Co-op climbing from 72 in 2016 to 31 this year.

Stonewall’s retail sector lead, Matt Moore, said it was “fantastic” to see Asda and Co-op on the Top 100 list again, improving and retaining firm positons for a consecutive year.

However, he highlighted the issue of how no other retailers were on the list at all.

“The sector in general continues to be underrepresented in the index, and we hope to see this change in the future,” he said.

“Until then, we hope to see both Asda and The Co-Operative continue to lead by example, demonstrating a true commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and helping their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff to bring their whole selves to work.”

Asda’s senior vice president of people Hayley Tatum said diversity and inclusion was “right at the heart” of the grocery giant’s business.

“We want every colleague to let their personality shine through so they can come to work and be themselves,” Tatum said.

“We are proud to be included in Stonewall’s LGBT friendly employer list and to increase our ranking so significantly is an incredible achievement.

“However there is still more work to be done. Our LGBT steering group continues to play a vital role in driving forward our diversity and inclusion agenda, we are sharpening our approach to working with LGBT Pride events and we will continue to engage and support our colleagues in the local communities we serve.”

The Co-op’s director of executive talent and diversity Adrian Shooter attributed his company’s improvement on the Top 100 list to the internal Respect Network, the Diversity & Inclusion team,

‘As a co-operative we pride ourselves on the support we give to all our colleagues… and the collaborative efforts of our businesses working together to support the LGBT community,” he said.

Written by Elias Jahshan, featured in Retail Gazette – https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2017/01/asda-co-op-the-only-retailers-listed-on-top-lgbt-inclusive-list

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