Stonewall Scotland, the LGBT equality charity, has released new research by YouGov today, showing that while offensive comments are frequently made about LGBT people very few people step in to challenge these slurs.
The research has been published ahead of Anti-Bullying Week.
The charity has been quick to emphasise the damage that even casual homophobia, biphobia and transphobia can cause, and has issued its own guide – specifically for Anti-Bullying Week, on how to take action when someone is targeted.
The findings from YouGov, whose research was undertaken using a sample size was 2,008 adults, of which 191 were from Scotland – confirm that in the past year one in four (24 per cent) in Scotland admitted making offensive remarks about LGBT people. A third (34 per cent) have heard offensive comments, or language like ‘poof’ or ‘dyke’, in the past month and more than half (52 per cent) have heard this sort of abuse in the past year.
Almost three in five (57 per cent) of those who witnessed this abuse did not intervene. Two in five (40 per cent) said they did intervene but just four per cent said they offered support or assistance to the person targeted.
To help empower people to take action, Stonewall Scotland has released a three-step practical guide for Anti-Bullying Week on how not to be a bystander.
• Be Brave – support the person being targeted by not leaving or ignoring the situation.
• Be Heard – confront the bully if it’s safe. Say that the language they are using is not OK and calmly explain why.
• Be Kind – approach the person who is being targeted to check they’re OK. Suggest they talk to a teacher or friend, or report what has happened.
Stonewall Scotland is asking people to sign up to its No Bystander pledge, and to commit to calling out abuse when they hear it. To date, more than 16,500 people have signed the commitment.
Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “We’ve come a long way in terms of LGBT equality in Scotland but these statistics show that we cannot be complacent. There is still much work to be done before every lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans person can be free to be themselves.
“To change this, we need people to stand up to bullying and abuse, we need people to be brave, be heard and be kind. At Stonewall Scotland our mission is to empower people to step up and not be a bystander. Simply offering support is one step people can take to ensure the person targeted is not left feeling isolated. Only by working together can we create a society where everyone is accepted without exception.”
Anti-Bullying Week runs from 16th to 20th November, and this year carries the theme “make a noise about bullying”. A National Award winning Anti-Bullying Roadshow is currently touring the UK, taking the message to schools and colleges in a fun and engaging way. This year’s roadshow claims to be “a packed spectacle showcasing a variety of strategies in dealing with bullying and highlighting ways to empowerment…made up of films, presentations, quizzes, interactive workshop elements, lights, prizes sound and some dedicated anti-bullying resources.”