Take Action: Urge UN to Act to End Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in urging the United Nations to act to end homophobic and transphobic bullying across the globe. Call on the UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, to highlight bullying based on gender stereotypes and prejudices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans children and youth in her upcoming report to the UN General Assembly on bullying.

Background

Children who do not fit into preconceived notions of what "normal" sexuality is, or of how boys and girls are “supposed to” behave (i.e. gender stereotypes) are frequently bullied. Though studies are scarce, evidence shows that the scale of this problem is significant. Here are some key statistics:

  • In a 2011 survey commissioned by the Pan-American Health Organization, between 53 and 68 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students in Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru said they had been physically assaulted while at school.

  • In the United Kingdom, secondary school teachers in a 2009 study identified homophobic bullying as the second most frequent form of bullying after abuse related to weight.

  • UNDP figures from China show that bullying and discrimination against LGBT students is widespread, with 77 percent of LGBT students experiencing some form of discrimination.

  • In South Africa, two studies from 2010 and 2011 show that gay and lesbian students suffer high levels of bullying, with many leaving schools as a result.

  • In the United States of America, more than 84 percent of lesbian, gay or bisexual students and more than 90 percent of transgender youth report bullying.

  • A 2005 study of India and Bangladesh found that 50 percent of gay youth experienced harassment from teachers or other students at school.

  • In a 2010 national study of same-sex attracted young people in Australia, 61 percent reported verbal abuse, 18 percent physical abuse, and 69 percent other forms of homophobic bullying, most of it at school.

In November 2014, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted the United Nations’ first ever resolution on bullying.  The resolution asks the Secretary General to deliver a report on the causes and effect of bullying, as well as ways to overcome it, by 2016.  This report will be spearheaded by the UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.

The report will contain recommendations for state action, and can be used for national advocacy against bullying. However, nothing in the resolution requires the Secretary-General’s report to look specifically at bullying based on gender stereotyping or linked to real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of children or their parents: it is up to us to ensure it does.

Take Action!

Sign our petition to Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

SRSG Santos: We, the undersigned, along with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission strongly urge you to highlight bullying based on gender stereotypes and prejudices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans children and youth in your upcoming report to the UN General Assembly on bullying. Bullying of LGBT youth and children is a widespread and significant problem. We are counting on you to take action.