Seventy teachers and staff attended the presentation entitled Supporting Sexual and Gender Diversity in Schools, which explored homophobic and transphobic beliefs in a societal context.
WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner Allanah Lucas said despite a shift in this area, systemic discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual and intersex (GLBTI) people still remained in the community.
“Studies show 75% of same sex attracted and gender diverse young people experience abuse on the basis of sexuality and gender diversity and 80% experience homophobic or transphobic abuse in Australian schools,” she said.
The presentation highlighted that homophobic and transphobic bullying differs from other forms of bullying and therefore requires a specific focus in educational policy and process state wide and at local school level.
“Distinct protective policies that explicitly addresses homophobic discrimination and bullying can make a potentially dramatic difference to self harm and suicide rates for students,” Ms Lucas said.
The presentation gave an overview of the work the EOC and the Freedom Centre have undertaken in collaboration with our partner organisations to address this serious problem.
A range of practical strategies and resources to support sexual and gender diversity in schools was covered and all participants received a copy of the EOC’s recently released Guidelines for Supporting Sexual and Gender Diversity in schools, which advocates a whole school approach. For more information go to www.eoc.wa.gov.au/community-projects/safe-schools-wa
The Commission and the Freedom Centre are able to run similar presentations to school staff, students, family members.
If you are interested in a presentation, please contact EOC Community Education Officer Marc Newhouse on (08) 9216 3900, 0415 074602 or firstname.lastname@example.org.