Government’s shame over LGBT teacher bullying

by - 25th February 2013, 8.45 BST

NASUWT LGBTThe overwhelming majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teachers have experienced bullying and harassment related to their sexuality during their careers, a NASUWT conference heard at the weekend.

LGBT teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham for the union’s LGBT Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges facing them as teachers, the impact of the government’s policies on children and young people and to engage in professional development workshops.

The conference heard that:

  • more than 60% of LGBT teachers said they have experienced discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity in the course of their teaching careers;
  • over three quarters of LGBT teachers said they had experienced bullying and harassment during their teaching careers;
  • 60% of LGBT teachers said their school has no policy which explicitly opposes homophobia, biphobia and transphobia;
  • two thirds of LGBT teachers said it was not safe for LGBT teachers to be out at work.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “An unrelenting assault has been mounted on equality by the government, from its neutering of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to its attacks on Equality Impact Assessments which have been dismissed as ‘unnecessary bureaucracy’ by the Prime Minister.

“Add to this the undermining of the Public Sector Equality Duty, the changes which are making it more difficult for people to get access to justice at work and all of the other attacks on the rights of working people, is it any wonder that this has encouraged and a culture of contempt in which discrimination can flourish?

“It is clear from the feedback from delegates that there is a still a huge amount of work still to do in schools to create a climate where all teachers feel respected and safe, regardless of their sexuality.

“The NASUWT will be meeting with government ministers throughout the UK to discuss with them how they intend to address the concerns raised at the conference to ensure that pupils can continue to benefit from the skills, talents and expertise of LGBT teachers.”