Stop homophobia

High levels of homophobia among boys at high school are harming the mental health of young gay people and putting them at risk of suicide, according to a study commissioned by beyondblue.

The findings, released in March, reveal young males have more homophobic attitudes than the general public.

Beyondblue has been prompted to launch a campaign to end lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) discrimination among teenagers, particularly boys.

It revealed a third of boys aged 14 to 17 would not be happy to have a same-sex attracted person in their friendship group and one in five found it hard to treat a gay person the same as others.

Forty per cent agreed they felt “anxious” or “uncomfortable” around same-sex attracted people.

A quarter said derogatory terms such as ‘homo’ and ‘dyke’ are “not really that bad”.

A television ad by beyondblue shows a group of boys bullying a left-handed teenager to highlight the absurdity of discriminating against people for being themselves.