NEW guidance for schools to tackle transphobic and biphobic bullying has been published by the Church of England today.
The church said schools must take action to prevent the “profound damage” to children caused by homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Pupils should be free to “explore the possibilities of who they might be” and not be bullied for exploring their identity, the church said.
Nursery and primary school is a particular time for “creative exploration,” it noted, adding that youngsters should be able to pick the tutu, tiara and heels “without expectation or comment.”
The advice says that schools which “promote dignity for all” enable pupils to “accept difference of all varieties and be supported to accept their own gender identity or sexual orientation and that of others.”
A spokesperson for gay charity Stonewall said: “All bullying has a profoundly negative impact on children, and it is never acceptable.
“Our research shows that nearly half of lesbian, gay, bi and trans pupils are bullied for being LGBT at school: a situation that desperately needs to change.
“We would like to congratulate the church for sending a clear signal that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying must never be tolerated.”
The church’s guidance on homophobic bullying was originally published by the church three years ago but has now been updated to include trans and biphobia.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders,self-harm, depression and suicide.
“We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem.”