An organisation set-up by a teacher saddened by the spate of
LGBT teen suicides will launch a national anti-homophobia drive
The charity - Diversity Role Models - will start to take
positive role models of all sexualities into schools this term to
run workshops specifically designed to educate all students about
diversity, with the aim to expand this programme across the UK.
Conceived by Suran Dickson - a teacher who left her job in 2011
to start the organisation - she hoped it will help stamp out
homophobic bullying by educating school children of all ages about
Currently, statistics show that 66% of LGBT students suffer
bullying at school. Of those, 58% never report it, 50% miss
school as a result and 17% of victims receive death threats.
Tonight's launch of the strategy in London's Houses of Commons
promises to be attended by a mix of public figures, role models,
teachers, politicians and anti-bullying and diversity campaigners,
including: BBC newsreader Jane Hill; Minister for Equalities Lynne
Featherstone MP; Labour MP Chris Bryant; and author and DRM
Trustee, Stella Duffy; along with representatives from Stonewall
and other related charities.
A keynote speech will be made by Home Secretary, the Rt Hon
Theresa May MP, who has supported the initiative.
The programme of workshops, which have already been trialled in
schools in London, was formally launched on Thursday 3 November,
when Suran and Diversity Role Models Patron, Charlie Condou, the
Coronation Street actor, ran their first joint workshop in a school
Commenting on the launch, Suran Dickson, Founder and Chief
Executive of Diversity Role Models, said: "Many LGBT people have
told me their lives were horrendous at school, that if one person
had given them, or their peers, a positive message about gay
people, it would have made a huge difference. It was this feedback,
coupled with my personal sadness at the tragic loss of Dominic
Crouch's life, amongst others, that led me to form Diversity Role
Models. Our purpose is simple - to give hope of a happy future to
young people who may be LGB or T and to create understanding in
their peers by gently challenging the misconceptions about gay
people which often lead to bullying. Our role models don't have to
be incredibly successful, they are just confident adults who have
respect for diversity and want to see homophobic bullying stamped
"The fact that this is such a serious concern is highlighted by
the openness with which we have discussed this topic with members
of Parliament. The reality is, this is a tough issue and many
teachers don't feel they have the resources to tackle homophobic
bullying. These workshops can ultimately save lives and, however
difficult, the challenge to stamp out this insidious form of
bullying in schools is a challenge that we are both ready and
willing to accept."
Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa
"Homophobic and transphobic bullying has no place in schools,
which is why it is so important that schools are able to challenge
such prejudiced views.
"The Government is improving anti-bullying guidance for teachers
to tackle all forms of bullying as well as working with schools to
combat cyber bullying.
"Diversity Role Models is a great example of helping young
people to understand and accept diversity, and I fully support its