Almost half of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pupils are still facing bullying at school about their sexuality, a new research reveals.
The survey of more than 3,700 LGBT secondary pupils, conducted by the equalities charity Stonewall, also found that two in five have also been the target of homophobic abuse online.
The survey found that, while homophobic bullying has decreased since 2012, 45 per cent of LGBT pupils are still being bullied in school. And 52 per cent of LGBT pupils say that they hear homophobic slurs frequently or often at school.
Louis, a 13-year-old at a secondary school in the South-West, told Stonewall: “They said I should kill myself because I had no friends.”
Nine per cent of trans pupils said that they had been subjected to death threats at school. And 40 per cent of LGBT students had been the target of online homophobic bullying.
Amy, an 18-year-old at a single-sex secondary school in the South-East, told Stonewall: “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.”
Such experiences have taken a toll on pupils’ mental health. More than four out of five (84 per cent) of trans pupils admit to having self-harmed, as do three out of five (61 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils.
Almost half – 45 per cent – of trans pupils have attempted suicide, as have 22 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual students.
Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “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.”
The survey did, however, show that schools were much more likely to condemn homophobic bullying than in previous years. Seven in 10 LGBT pupils reported that their schools had said homophobic bullying was wrong, compared with half in 2012 and only a quarter in 2007.
But only one in five – 20 per cent – of those questioned said that they had been taught in school about how to have safe sex in the context of a same-sex relationship.
Ms Hunt said: “Now that compulsory relationships and sex education is set to become a reality in England, it’s vital that the government’s guidance ensures that these lessons are always inclusive of LGBT issues and same-sex relationships.”