The enforced periods of isolation during the pandemic have had a disproportionate impact on LGBTI people, an online conference organised by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has heard today.
The lack of ability to meet with and get support and solidarity from other members of their community is having a damaging impact on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTI people, delegates at the Union’s LGBTI Teachers’ Consultation Conference said.
A real-time poll of delegates at the conference found:
82% say the lockdown has had a worsening impact on their mental health and wellbeing;
71% say the extended periods of isolation during the pandemic have had a disproportionate impact on LGBTI people;
23% said they have had to seek specialist support for their mental health during the pandemic;
36% said they think homo/bi/transphobia has got worse during the last 12 months during the pandemic. Many members stated they had noticed a rise in prejudicial and hateful language being used online in the last year.
Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“While lockdown has been difficult for everyone, for many LGBTI people it has meant they have been denied the ability to meet with and get support from other members of the LGBTI community. Such networks are vital for many LGBTI people’s wellbeing and safety and it is not surprising that so many members tell us this has had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
“Building the recovery from the pandemic and repairing the damage to people’s mental health must have at its root a culture of inclusion and equality and this includes within our schools.
“As a starting point, the pledge in Scotland to embed LGBTI teaching across the curriculum must be made a reality and other nations should follow suit.
“Every school should be a safe and welcoming space for LGBTI pupils and staff where they feel included and respected.
“We can combat the isolation of the past year by ensuring there is zero tolerance within every school for LGBTI prejudice and by ensuring the curriculum is fully inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”