What you can do

Secondary schools

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language and bullying are widespread in UK secondary schools, affecting young people's well-being as well as their attendance and attainment.

Here you can find out more about the prevalence and impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools, as well as ways that you can prevent and tackle it in your secondary school. 

Why does it matter?

 The School Report (2017), a survey by Cambridge University of more than 3,700 lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people, found that:

  • Nearly half (45 per cent) of lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people are bullied for being LGBT at school.
  • 86 per cent hear the phrases 'that's so gay' or 'you're so gay' in school.
  • 40 per cent of lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people are never taught anything about LGBT issues at school. 

 The Teachers' Report (2014), polling by YouGov for Stonewall, found that:

  • Nine in ten secondary school teachers say students in their schools are bullied, harassed or called names for being – or perceived to be – lesbian, gay or bi. 

Metro Youth Chances (2014), a survey of more than 7,000 young people, including 956 trans young people, found that:

  • Three quarters of trans young people say they have experienced name-calling and 28 per cent have experienced physical attacks.
  • 32 per cent of trans young people say they have missed lessons due to discrimination or fear of discrimination. 
  • 27 per cent of trans young people have attempted suicide.

The impact

Bullying has a severe impact on the well-being, attainment and aspirations of LGBT students. More than half (52 per cent) of students who have experienced homophobic bullying say it has had an impact on their plans for future education; Two in five say they have skipped school to avoid bullies. In some cases, the exclusion of LGBT people from the curriculum, and the reinforcement of negative messages around sexual orientation and gender identity, can severely affect self esteem.

'I felt like whatever I was doing was worthless. Even if I did well in school, it wouldn't matter to people because all they would care about is me being gay' - Zoe, 12

Our research shows that secondary schools that take an active, positive approach to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language and bullying get the best results. The Stonewall School Champions programme can offer your school support, and is aimed at creating a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students.

80 % secondary school teachers have not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying

45 % of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have experienced bullying in school

Teacher training

Our Train the Trainer courses give you the tools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, as well as the confidence to train colleagues in your school. Find a course in your area and book now!


Our secondary school resources (including posters, DVDs, teachers' guides and book lists) give you tips and tools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, support LGBT young people and celebrate difference in your secondary school. 

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or want to find out more about the work Stonewall does in secondary schools, please contact education@stonewall.org.uk or call 020 7593 1881