Merton’s success in the Stonewall Equality Index 2017
Merton, in its sixth year of completing the Stonewall Education Equality Index, has demonstrated its commitment to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) in our schools. We have now achieved the top position out of London local authorities, and are 13th overall out of the 39 local authorities taking part; this demonstrates a 6% rise in our score!
We have been congratulated by Stonewall on our outstanding result reflecting the incredible work being done to celebrate difference, prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools and supporting LGBT young people in our local community.
Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager at Stonewall, said: ‘We’ve seen outstanding work from all of those local authorities that have participated in this year’s Education Equality Index. Merton Council has made huge strides with its phenomenal initiatives and inspiring work with and for local young people, working to celebrate difference and challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.’
This year we have engaged in a range of successful activities which have been very well evaluated by participants including: LGBT+ Health and Wellbeing Conference; presentations and primary school workshops delivered by a student group at Ricards Lodge; and a new LGBT+ youth group in Morden funded by the Merton LGBT+ forum. The Ricards Lodge student group were also featured in a film presented at the Stonewall National Conference in Birmingham.
In order to build on everything we have achieved so far we will be following the recommendations set out in the Stonewall School Report 2017 which states:
- The use of homophobic language has decreased, with 52 per cent of LGBT people hearing homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school, down from 68 per cent in 2012.
- Schools are much more likely to condemn homophobic and biphobic bullying than in previous years. This year seven in ten LGBT young people reported that their school says that homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from half in 2012 and just a quarter in 2007.
In Merton we continue to ensure that schools are aware of the importance of tackling HBT bullying and derogatory language.
However, while these improvements are encouraging, the report also reveals a much more distressing side to life for LGBT young people today. Rates of poor mental health are alarmingly high among LGBT young people: more than four in five trans young people (84 per cent) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (61 per cent).
In Merton, we will continue to address the mental health needs of our LGBT+ young people in the coming year.
Read the full School Report (2017), and find out what you can do to have a positive impact on the lives of young LGBT people, by visiting www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport.