12 Noon, Wednesday 27 November 1991
Lesbian and gay activists will distribute sex information leaflets about homosexuality to pupils at Haverstock Secondary School, Crogsland Road, London NW1 at lunchtime today, 27 November.
OutRage! say that most schools are deliberately keeping students ignorant about homosexuality and are refusing to show support and understanding to pupils who are lesbian or gay.
"Ten per cent of the students at this school are homosexual. Another fifteen per cent are bisexual," according to leaflet organiser, John Jackson. "By ignoring the needs of lesbian and gay students, schools are contributing to their sense of isolation and rejection," he added.
The leafleting is being organised by SISSY (Sex Information for School Students and Youth), which is part of the lesbian and gay group OutRage!
SISSY says: "Students have a right to objective and unprejudiced information about all aspects of sexuality, including homosexual relationships. It is the responsibility of schools to teach young people the facts of life and prepare them for adulthood. By neglecting lesbian and gay issues, schools are failing in their educational obligations. They are giving pupils a second class education."
SISSY points out that a 1991 Health Education Authority survey of more than 4,000 16-19 year olds found that over 80 per cent had received no information about homosexuality in their school sex education lessons, and 45 per cent said they wished they had received more information about lesbian and gay relationships while they were at school.
"When students are denied objective and factual information about lesbian and gay people, it helps perpetuate prejudice and victimisation in the school playground," according to SISSY spokesperson John Jackson.
A survey published in 1985 by the London Gay Teenage Group found that 50 per cent of lesbian and gay students had problems at school because of their sexuality - mostly name calling and bullying by other pupils.
"The lack of proper education about homosexuality makes it much harder for lesbian and gay young people to come to terms with their sexual orientation," says John Jackson. "They are more likely to feel isolated and depressed."
The 1985 survey of lesbian and gay teenagers found that one in five had attempted suicide, and one in seven had been sent to a psychiatrist.
"Schools that refuse to be honest and open about homosexuality are contributing to the suffering of lesbian and gay pupils," says SISSY spokesperson John Jackson.
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