Campaign spotlight: Bully Beef

Gary Nunn, communications officer, Stonewall

What's the problem?
Homophobic bullying is almost epidemic in Britain's schools. Research undertaken by YouGov for Stonewall this year showed that nine in ten teachers say their pupils experience homophobic bullying. But these teachers have not received training on how to prevent or respond to it. It's essential we educate people about gay equality, so that we don't see ignorance leading to violence later in life. This happened recently with homophobic hate crimes in Liverpool and London. What struck us was the age of the perpetrators - all were either still at school or recent school leavers.

How does it affect you?
Being gay myself, I grew up reading the poisonous anti-gay propaganda around Section 28's repeal. The spiteful bigotry wasn't just in the playground, it was in the national press, too. Stonewall is now trying to cure the hangover effect of hate that Section 28 created by outlawing the "promotion of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" for 15 years in schools. A quarter of Stonewall's employees are straight. What we have in common is that we're interested in campaigning for equality - not special gay "rights".

What are you doing about it?
Stonewall is making an interactive DVD to provide teachers with the resources they're desperate for. We're fundraising so we can send it to every school in the country. We're also promoting the campaign slogan: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

How can we get involved?
Write to your old school - or your child's school - and ask them what they're doing to tackle homophobic bullying. To find out more visit our website.

This article first appeared in the 07 December 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Boy George