Fears of bigotry

4th April 2008 at 01:00
Almost 90 per cent of lesbian and gay people polled in Wales believe they would face discrimination if they applied to become a school governor. Only the North West of England showed a higher percentage in a regional breakdown of a YouGov survey.

Matthew Batten, policy and affairs officer of gay, lesbian and bisexual campaign group Stonewall Cymru, said he was disappointed with the results in Wales. He said governing bodies needed to engage more with local communities. "School governors play a vital role in developing the ethos of a school," he said. "Often gay people have important skills that can help schools develop a more inclusive and respectful learning culture."

The survey of 1,658 lesbian, gay and bisexual people, Serves You Right, was commissioned by Stonewall. Respondents in the West Midlands were least likely to say they would face prejudice if applying to become a governor at school (74 per cent).

The poll also revealed that three in 10 people in England and Wales also believe they would be treated worse than heterosexuals if they enrolled their children at a school.

Younger people between the ages of 18 and 24 were also more likely to expect less favourable treatment as a result of being gay.

"Homophobic bullying is still prevalent in schools, so it's not surprising that many lesbian and gay people feel the education system is unwelcoming," said Mr Batten.

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