Homophobic Bullying


Homophobic bullying is "a moral outrage, a grave violation of human rights and a public health crisis."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon



Reaction to the publication of UNESCO's Booklet "Good Policy and Practice in HIV and Health Education"

Source: UNESCO Multimedia Archives

Every day, students around the world are routinely denied the basic, universal human right to education because of discrimination and violence they experience in school on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.


What is bullying?

A learner is bullied when s/he is exposed repeatedly over time to aggressive behaviour that intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort through physical contact, verbal attacks, fighting or psychological manipulation. Bullying involves an imbalance of power and can include teasing, taunting, use of hurtful nicknames, physical violence or social exclusion. A bully can operate alone or within a group of peers. More

What is homophobic bullying?

Bullying on the basis of perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a specific type of bullying and is defined as homophobic bullying. Studies show that it is not only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who experience homophobic bullying, but also learners who do not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

What is UNESCO doing?

UNESCO convened the United Nations’ first-ever international consultation to address homophobic bullying in educational institutions.  It brought together experts from UN agencies, NGOs, ministries of education and academia from more than 25 countries around the world. The consultation produced striking evidence on the extent of homophobic bullying in educational institutions worldwide, and provided many examples of best practice in terms of policy frameworks and interventions to prevent and address.

The findings of the consultation have been amalgamated into a publication: Good Policy and Practice in HIV and Health Education – Booklet 8: Education Sector Responses to Homophobic Bullying.

UNESCO presented the publication and its findings during a High Level Meeting on Education Sector Responses to Homophobic Bullying on 16 May 2012.  The meeting brought together key stakeholders, and in particular civil society organizations working in the field. The meeting took place on the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia (IDAHO). To view the meeting in French and English click here (for French only click here and  for English only here).

The theme for IDAHO in 2012 was “Combating Homo/Transphobia In Education and Through Education.” To help mark the day in schools, UNESCO and the IDAHO Committee created a lesson plan for teachers and facilitators comprised of four activities for primary and secondary school levels.

Activities also took place nationally. For example, in Asia, UNESCO produced a film Addressing homophobia in and through schools: Promising examples from Thailand, and supported a meeting on raising awareness about homophobia and transphobia. In Latin America, UNESCO produced a video entitled Embrace diversity in school: say no to HIV-related stigma and other forms of discrimination.”

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