College hopes to fight LGBT bullying

Uniformed Public Services students who are studying LGBT bullying as part of a month of events by Boston College supporting LGBT History Month.
Uniformed Public Services students who are studying LGBT bullying as part of a month of events by Boston College supporting LGBT History Month.

Staff and students at Boston College are helping to fight homophobia, while learning about how it might affect people, as part of their support for LGBT History Month.

The college has a display in it’s library supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender charity Stonewall and it’s campaign to challenge homophobic language in schools.

Library assistant Lesley Fulton told The Standard this was the second year the college had supported the month.

She said last year’s display was ‘really popular’ and said she believed it had resonated well with pupils.

She said: “Out in the library and around the college we do hear a lot of misuse of words. A lot of that sort of behaviour is driven by fear and to help fight that fear we have to explain things to younger and older people.

“Once they understand things it gets rid of their fear and hatred.”

Equality and diversity manager for the college Frank Hanson said the events were ‘an excellent opportunity’ to help build the confidence and maturity of students.

He said: “Many of our students will progress onto careers where excellent customer service skills are essential requiring an understanding of LGBT in today’s global and diverse community.”

Pupils – including those in the Uniformed Public Services courses - in the college are also taking part in a series of workshops and events to speak about how homophobia affects everyday lives.

The events included a Question Time-style workshop with visits from ranking members of authorities including police, ambulance and other public services.

There are also a number of guests attending from Lincolnshire’s LGBT Community to speak and present to students and staff at the college.

Uniformed Public Service pupil John Socket, who wants to join the police, said: “It [the police visit] was interesting because it shows how the services used to be before and how it is now in terms of sexuality.

“I have friends who are LGBT and it’s made me realise that what other people say to them can mean a lot more to them than it does to me saying it to a friend.”

Alongside each of the events, Boston College is supporting Stonewall’s national campaign to tackle homophobic language which followed a YouGov polling that highlighted that in the last five years 2.4 million people of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying.

The campaign plans to tackle these incidents which can undermine the confidence of not just young gay people, but anyone who may feel different or not part of the gang.