Cara-Friend welcomes the long-awaited DE report into the experiences of LGBT students at post-primary level in Northern Ireland. While Cara-Friend had expressed reservations around the survey which was conducted, mainly regarding the age range (16-21 years old), we are pleased to see that the report has finally been published. Cara-Friend has lobbied for this information to be released for almost two years.

The statistics of most concern are:

  • 48% of LGBT students aged 16-21 experienced bullying in school because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • 67% of LGBT students aged 16-21 do not feel welcome or valued in their school because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • 63% of LGBT students aged 16-21 feel their school had a negative impact on their emotional health and wellbeing.

Cara-Friend is the only LGBT organisation in Northern Ireland which works on a daily basis with post-primary schools in an effort to improve the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in those schools. Our LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools Programme was launched last September and since then 20 schools have engaged fully with it, with a further 30 schools availing of training for their teachers on LGBTQ+ Awareness.

There is clearly a lot of work to be done to ensure that school – a place where young people spend a significant amount of their time and lives – becomes a safe and accepting place for people, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This report shows that this is not at present the case for LGBTQ+ young people.

Our LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools Programme is available to all post-primary schools across Northern Ireland for free. It includes:

  • ShoutOut Anti-Bullying Workshops for students, aimed at tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and negative attitudes;
  • LGBTQ+ Awareness Teacher Training, aimed at improving the practice of teachers and other school staff to make it more inclusive of, and responsive to, the needs of LGBTQ+ young people;
  • Organisational Support for Schools, where school staff can contact Cara-Friend via phone or email to avail of support around issues relating to sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • One-to-One Support for Students, where schools or parents can refer to Cara-Friend youth service to seek support for LGBTQ+ young people experiencing difficulty and/or poor mental health as a result of their experience as LGBTQ+; and
  • Gay Straight Alliance Support, where schools can contact Cara-Friend for assistance in setting up and maintaining inclusive Gay Straight Alliance clubs.

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Cara-Friend will continue its work in schools across Northern Ireland with both staff and students to tackle these worrying statistics and to make the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in our schools safer, healthier and happier. To learn how your school can get involved, please contact Declan on declan.meehan@cara-friend.org.uk.

Upcoming Events

Dec
15
Fri
2017
7:00 pm BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
Dec 15 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Cara-Friend LGBT Youth meets every Monday evening at the Belfast LGBT Centre from 6:00pm onwards.  If you would like more information about our activities, please contact theRead More
Dec
18
Mon
2017
1:00 pm LGBT Switchboard NI
LGBT Switchboard NI
Dec 18 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
On Monday to Friday, from 1pm to 4pm, LGBT Switchboard NI operates it’s helpline and online chat support service. Call the Switchboard on 0808 8000 390, orRead More
7:00 pm BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
Dec 18 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Cara-Friend LGBT Youth meets every Monday evening at the Belfast LGBT Centre from 6:00pm onwards.  If you would like more information about our activities, please contact theRead More
Dec
19
Tue
2017
1:00 pm LGBT Switchboard NI
LGBT Switchboard NI
Dec 19 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
On Monday to Friday, from 1pm to 4pm, LGBT Switchboard NI operates it’s helpline and online chat support service. Call the Switchboard on 0808 8000 390, orRead More

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