Norwich Pride to combat rise in homophobic ‘banter’ in schools

Youngsters from Horning Prmary school take part in a Pride march around the school

Youngsters from Horning Primary school take part in a Pride march around the school in 2018. - Credit: Archant

A rise in reports of homophobia and transphobia in Norfolk schools is to be targeted during a week of events as part of Norwich Pride. 

Despite the Norwich Pride parade being cancelled, the 2021 Pride Schools Week will go ahead from July 5-9 with the theme being "respect".

Education lead Nick O'Brien said: "We're getting reports from staff and students about a rise in homophobia and transphobia in Norfolk schools, particularly casual comments described as 'banter'. 

“This is particularly worrying as we know that many LGBT+ young people suffered an extra sense of isolation during lockdown, so it's critical that schools are a safe space for them. 

Norwich Pride education lead Nick O'Brien.

Norwich Pride education lead Nick O'Brien. - Credit: Archant

“Pride Schools Week is the perfect opportunity for schools to reset and give out a clear message that homophobia and transphobia of any kind will not be tolerated."

Earlier this year Norwich-based charity Mancroft Advice Project, which runs relationship, sex and sexual health programmes in schools, said sexual harassment and abuse were “an everyday occurrence” for pupils.

Michelle Savage of Norwich Pride and artist David Shenton

Michelle Savage of Norwich Pride and artist David Shenton with the Show Some Respect school posters and cards. - Credit: Norwich Pride

Pride Schools Week will see poster artwork originally designed by David Shenton for the Proud Canaries to stamp out homophobia and transphobia in football grounds, hung in schools.


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Credit-card sized copies will be handed out to students with a simple message to show to bullies. 

Mr Shenton said: “I’m delighted that the Show Some Respect artwork will be used in schools this summer. I hope it brings comfort and a realisation to young LGBT+ people that they are not alone.”

Di Cunningham of Proud Canaries

Di Cunningham of Proud Canaries will be one of the inspirational role models taking part in Norwich Pride Schools Week. - Credit: Archant

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The week will also see local actor and theatre producer Joseph Ballard devise school drama workshops and inspirational role models such as Di Cunningham, director of inclusion at Norfolk FA who also runs Proud Canaries, the official LGBT+ fan group at Norwich City, speaking at assemblies.

Jo Caulfield, of Norwich Pride education team, said: “Wonderful things have happened in previous pride weeks. There's been rainbow cake-making, pride parades in the playground, debates, football matches, special events and speakers and beautiful artwork created by students. 

Youngsters from Horning Primary school take part in a Pride march around the school in 2018.

Youngsters from Horning Primary school take part in a Pride march around the school in 2018. - Credit: Archant

“It's always a joy to see what schools come up with and pride week can be one of the highlights of the school year.”

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