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20:41 | 28th March 2017

Lifestyle: Coming Out

Wed 16 May, 2012
By Robert Ingham


It was really interesting to actually meet a gay person and be allowed to ask questions about being gay

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Diversity Role Models

Diversity Role Models (DRM) actively seeks to prevent homophobic bullying in United Kingdom schools. They aim to stop bullying before it happens by educating all young people about differences in sexuality and gender identity


Diversity Role Models

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Diversity Role Models (DRM) actively seeks to prevent homophobic bullying in United Kingdom schools. They aim to stop bullying before it happens by educating all young people about differences in sexuality and gender identity.
In schools where homophobic bullying is tackled, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are much less likely to be bullied and this improved environment allows young people to feel safe and focus on learning. It also prepares all students for a working environment in which homophobia and transphobia are not tolerated and diversity is respected.



LGB and T young people should have equal learning opportunities, which is why DRM works to educate students about diversity. However, it's not just LGB and T young people that suffer from homophobic bullying. Girls drop out of sport and boys deny artistic talent to conform to gender roles and avoid being labelled gay or lesbian. And young people who have LGB and T friends and family members often feel the need to hide this from their peers.

DRM communicates with students directly via structured workshops in schools, where students have the opportunity to hear from a range of positive role models. The workshops cover stereotypes, bullying, friendship and involve a facilitated Q & A session. This honest interaction helps LGB and T students feel confident and ensures their straight classmates understand, accept and welcome the differences they notice in others.

Many students have never had any positive interaction with people who identify as LGB or T. Often their only points of reference are media driven stereotypes that young people find hard to identify with. Providing students with a range of role models from many different walks of life helps them break down these stereotypes; volunteers range from firefighters to lawyers and parents. Role models may not necessarily be LGB or T themselves, they may be straight allies, who often send an even more powerful message.

‘The workshops delivered in our school were truly inspirational. The role models helped students to understand the importance of acceptance and the whole process made me feel humbled and motivated to work hard to change attitudes’.
Head of Year 8

‘It was really interesting to actually meet a gay person and be allowed to ask questions about being gay as it's not something we had experienced before. I think some people in the class who are a bit ignorant realised gay people can be pretty normal too!’
Year 11 student
www.diversityrolemodels.org


www.facebook.com/diversityrolemodels

twitter: @diversityrm
Charity number: 1142548

 

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