Call for an end to bullying as world marks International Day against Homophobia

Some 70% of young LGBTI+ people do not feel safe at school

Call for an end to bullying as world marks International Day against Homophobia

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People around the world have been marking International Day against Homophobia Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).

The event, held on May 17th every year, is seen as a rallying event offering an opportunity for people to get together and reach out to one another.

The date was specifically chosen to commemorate a decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The day received official recognition from several states, international institutions such as the European Parliament and by countless local authorities.

To mark the day,  national organisation BeLonG To Youth Services is calling for an end to prejudice and bullying of LGBTI+ young people.

Irish secondary schools

The group says students are still reporting high levels of LGBTI+ bullying in Irish secondary schools.

Some 70% of young LGBTI+ people do not feel safe at school, and 67% have witnessed bullying of other LGBTI+ students.

While over 50% of people have personally experienced bullying, according to a 2017 survey of young LGBT+ people nationwide.

The executive director of BeLonG To Youth Services, Moninne Griffith, says: "Sadly, the young LGBTI+ people we work with experience discrimination, bullying and violence as a result of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

"This suffering ranges from being kicked, beaten and thrown down stairs to being rejected by their loved ones and asked to leave the family home.

"We are very concerned about the serious impact that this has on their mental health.

"The frightening truth is LGBTI+ young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide, and twice as likely to self-harm, compared to the general population of young people".

"IADHOTB is an important day to challenge prejudice in classrooms, in communities, and in families across Ireland, and stand in solidarity with LGBTI+ people."

May 17th is now celebrated in more than 130 countries.

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact BeLonG To on (01)-670-6223 or find details of nationwide groups here