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

Oct
23
Mon
2017
1:00 pm LGBT Switchboard NI
LGBT Switchboard NI
Oct 23 @ 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
6:00 pm BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
BELFAST Cara-Friend LGBT Youth @ Belfast LGBT Centre,CQHQ
Oct 23 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 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
Oct
24
Tue
2017
1:00 pm LGBT Switchboard NI
LGBT Switchboard NI
Oct 24 @ 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
Oct
25
Wed
2017
1:00 pm LGBT Switchboard NI
LGBT Switchboard NI
Oct 25 @ 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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