Opinion : Stand up week is discriminatory, bullying affects everyone regardless of sexual orientation

An Irish Times / MRBI poll carried out in March 2015 asked people to describe their sexuality .

4% , or 4 in 100 of the respondents said they were gay which was "at the upper end of most surveys" according to the Newspaper .

In the UK the figure there was just 1.5 percent according to the National Statistics Office .

The average Secondary School in Ireland has around 500 pupils . Taking this 4% figure , at most 20 pupils might identify as gay which means many classes wont have any gay pupils at all . 

In 2003 , One of the most extensive research analysis on bullying in schools to date was carried out in the UK by childline and the Department of Education and skills .

The study was called - 'tackling bullying by listening to the views of children and young people' .

It involved surveying 953 pupils by questionaire and interviewing another 230 pupils in their schools by breaking them into groups . Six Primary and Six Secondary Schools took part in the study .

The study found that the most common types of bullying involved name calling , pushing , being ignored/left out , being hit on purpose , having rumours spread , being threatened and kicked .

The 'least' common type of bullying was anti gay remarks , sexists remarks and racist names .

Given this research combined with the reality that statistically only a small number of pupils in our schools will be gay , its hard to understand why any government would commission a study into what they describe as "the serious problem of bullying in schools" on condition that the outcome of the study would - "put a specific focus on homophobic bullying " .

Yet this is precisely what happened .

In May 2012 , Minister Ruairi Quinn and Francis Fitzgerald commissioned a study into Bullying in schools .

The study is called 'The Action Plan on Bullying' . The purpose of the study is " to explore ways to tackle the serious problem of bullying in schools " .

I asked the working group to put a specific focus on homophobic bullying.

In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government I asked the working group to put a specific focus on homophobic bullying

 - Ruairi Quinn
The Minister then invites six people outside of government to take part in the study .

Four of the six people are members of two prominant LGBT organisations
Belong To Youth Services ltd

Belong to Youth Services is an lgbt youth organisation , a listed member of coalition to repeal the 8th which was an irish lobby group calling for abortion on demand , and a member of  ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association , a Brussels based lobby group funded by George Soros (open society initiative for europe) and the EU Commission .  

Its members on the working group were Michael Barron and Carol Anne O'Brien

G.L.E.N ltd (Gay & Lesbian Equality Network)

GLEN  , the The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network , also a listed member of coalition to repeal the 8th and member of ILGA-Europe . In July  , the company was officially dissolved following an investigation into financial irregularities at the company .

Its members on the working group were Brian sheehan , general secretary of the social democrats and co chair of ILGA-Europe along with Sandra Irwin Gowran .

Cyber bulling which is a big issue nowadays only had 1 representative. 

In January 2013 , the study completed its work and the Action Plan on Bullying was published .

The two LGBT organisations Belong and GLEN whose members dominated the study had so much influence they both recommend their own services in the final recommendations of the Study .


1) Teaching the new SPHE resource 'Growing Up LGBT' ( a Belong and GLEN publication )

2) Participating in Belong's annual Stand Up Awareness Week Against Homophobic Bullying

In September 2013 , the recommendations within the Action Plan on Bullying were incorporated into the Government's Anti Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary schools .

Anti Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools

programmes focused on developing pupils awareness of bulling should deal explicitly with and in particular homophobic and transphobic bullying .

For example , the inclusion of LGBT posters on notice boards , discussions with parents about specific statements of welcome and respect for LGBT members of the school ,

* teaching the SPHE resource growing up LGBT and participating in LGBT awareness events .

- Policy 6.5.4

Contracts were then signed with the Two LGBT organisations Belong and GLEN, the Department of Education , Department of Children and the HSE giving both organisations pathways to our schools under a smokescreen of 'bullying awareness' .  

One of the Guidelines listed above encourages schools to "participate in LGBT awareness events" .

One Such LGBT Event being funded by the Government in schools is called 'Stand UP' 

'Stand up' is run by Belong To Youth Services Ltd .

It is an annual Event whereby schools set aside a week to discuss LGBT issues with children and engage in various activities .

One such learning activity recommended by Belong in their Brochure is the word game , whereby children learn off all the terms associated with LGBT sexuality , other activities include putting up rainbow flags and painting pictures of gay , lesbian and transgender couples .

Below : The word game recommended for school children in Belong's Stand Up Brochure 2015


Carol-Anne O'Brien is the Director of Advocacy at Belong To Youth Services ltd, she explains what their 'stand up' week is all about -

to make your school a welcoming and safe place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students. Stand Up Awareness Week tackles homophobic and transphobic bullying by encouraging friendship between LGBT young people and other young people

 -Carol-Anne O'Brien  , Director at Belong

However , their own research carried out in 2009 by the Children's Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin - 'supporting lgbt lives', surveyed 1,110 LGBT people online and 40 in person and found that :

77% of those surveyed said people were 'friendly' towards them in school ,
52.9% agreed they felt a real part of the school ,
52.6% said that they felt proud to belong to the school
63.6% said they were treated with the same respect as other students .

Now , Lets take a look at a Live example of 'Stand UP' in our schools .

For this example , I will use my old school - Moyle Park College in Clondalkin , Dublin 
Moyle Park College currently has 665 boys enrolled . It is run by the Marist Brothers.

Here is a recent 'Stand UP' event which took place in the school .

1) Rainbow Flag Erected outside School Entrance


2) Corridors lined with Rainbow Flags


3) Windows lined with Rainbow Flags


4) young pupils paint murals in rainbow pride colours


5) 1st year Pupils (12 yrs old) watch videos on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

6) Teachers Gather outside school in support of stand up week .


All of the above pictures were taken during Two "Stand UP" events at my old school (April and Nov 2015)

Lets go back to the Irish Times figure of 4% of the population being Gay (which they admitted was quite high)

Lets apply this 4% figure to Moyle Park College which has 665 boys enrolled .

Using 4% , 27 pupils in Moyle Park College may or may not identify as gay , which leaves 638 pupils who are not gay and potential targets for other types of Bullying .

I can honestly say that in my Five years at the school I never once witnessed any incident of homophobic bullying.

Below : In Donegal , Stand Up Week for first year students in Moville Community College .


Youth Centres are also encouraged to participate in Stand Up .

I was quite shocked recently when I looked at the Stand UP Brochure for April 2015 and Found this Picture promoting their Event .

The Picture was taken by Clondalkin Youth Service in March 2014 , and also appeared on their Facebook Page.

The children are members of the 'street art crew' group in Knockmitten Clondalkin , they hold up their paintings of LGBT couples holding hands with 'Stand Up' written on each page like an 'advertisement' which indeed later appeared in Belong's Brochure as an advertisement. 

The Children appear to be very young , why are their faces covered ? 

Primary Schools  

In 2016 , Belong Ltd Announced a new programme for our Primary School Children .

The Programme is called 'All Together Now' and is funded by the Department of Education and Skills.

According to their Brochure the purpose of the Primary School programme is :

To explore the Equality Act and the Gender Recognition Act and identify what constitutes discrimination/harassment and how individuals can counter these.

children can be updated on the recent passing of the Gender Recognition Act (2015) which recognises the right of transgender people to be legally recognised as their preferred gender

Extracts from the course are shown below:

Extracts from All Together Now Programme in Primary Schools 

Activity 4 Rainbows :

The teacher displays and introduces the symbol of the rainbow. Its significance is explained to the pupils in terms of the range of colours (diversity) that together form a beautiful phenomenon in the sky on a rainy day. Other places where rainbow symbols are seen arealso explored. Its significance for the LGBT community is discussed. The pupils are shown some pictures of people wearing/using the symbol who are not LGBT – but who are LGBT allies. The concept of an ally can be explored. The IWB could be used to display some of these images to the children.

Discussion : Scenario 10

"Lily has an older sister Michaela whom she’s very fond of. Michaela has recently told the family that she really feels like a boy inside, and has felt like that for some time. She has asked that everyone would now start calling her Michael and use “he” in discussion about her rather than “she”.

Lesson 3: The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

The Boy in the Dress by David Williams may be used to generate further discussion withthe pupils. The teacher may choose to do a whole class reading of this novel...

Dennis is twelve years old. He lives with his Dad and older brother John who is fourteen. Their Mam left home a couple of years. At this stage of the story Dad has just found a Vogue magazine belonging to Dennis . “What the hell is this?” said Dad. Dennis wondered why Dad was asking, if he already knew what it was, but he kept that thought to himself. “It’s Vogue magazine, Dad.”………. “I can see it’s Vogue. What I want to know is why a son of mine wants to look at a fashion magazine?” “I’m sorry. It’s just not right. A boy at your age reading Vogue magazine." ... is his dad right discuss , what should dennis do , what should you do

children could be updated on the recent passing of the Gender Recognition Act (2015) which recognises the right of transgender people to be legally recognised as their preferred gender
Feedback from Teachers

'The children enjoyed the excerpt from The Boy in the Dress and it led to a great discussion around children and their toys e.g. why can’t boys play with Barbies? Why are kitchens and dolls in the girl section of toy catalogues? - 6th Class teacher '

'The children loved the novel extract. They suggested that the problem actually lay with the father, not the child, and to me this was evidence that the programme was a success - 6th Class teacher'


In 2014 , Belong to Youth Services Ltd received the following Grants to finance their 'Stand Up' programme in schools .

Funding 2014

€59,361 - European Commission
€221,375 - dept. of children
€ 93,500 - dept. of education
€231,782 - HSE
€19,295 - dept. of justice
€14,988 - lottery through the HSE

Catherine Zappone , Minister for children has recently announced an additional source of funding for these organisations

Another recommendation in the Bullying Guidelines is to teach the SPHE resource 'growing up LGBT' to Junior cycle students , this resource was developed by both Belong and GLEN ltd , The topics covered include 'understanding sexual orientation , gender identity and coming out ' .

However , in 2004 , a DCU postal survey of 365 SPHE teachers found that Half of teachers , were not aware of any gay pupils attending their school . In Girls schools this figure rose to 67% , or 7 out of every 10 SPHE teachers not knowing any Lesbian pupils in their school .

Currently , these organisations see the only barrier to reaching into every school is freedom of religion and religious run schools .

Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to any citizen.


-Article 44.2.1 of our Constitution

In December 2015 , Michael Barron , realising the only barrier to him reaching every school in Ireland was indeed religion and religious run schools , founded a new business called - Equate Ireland , Equality in Education .

The intention was to reach into every school in Ireland by removing religious run schools and boards of management altogether under a smokescreen of "equality in education" .

We want to see changes to school admissions policies, curriculum, patronage and the management of our schools


- Michael Barron , CEO Equate ( founder of Belong and Stand up week)

Following an investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission into funding at the organisation , it closed its doors In May 2018 .

In Conclusion , Bullying is no doubt an horrific torment for many pupils , wether it is homophobic or any other type of bullying it is never ever acceptable . 

However , To try to solve the problem by starting off on the basis that one form of bullying (homophobic) is more prevalent to other types when the statistics and research do not support that claim , is not going to solve any problems for our young people .

No amount of Flags , Banners , Pictures or Drawings in the colours of the Rainbow is going to solve a very real problem that is experienced by all pupils regardless of their sexuality , colour , race or religion .

The Fact that our Government is spending so much money on these campaigns while in the process discriminating against people who dont identify as gay really shows that this is not about bullying at all but its about something much different.

It would appear that the idea of equality has now gone on to the next phase i.e "Everyone is Equal but some people are more equal than others"

The Book - Animal Farm by George Orwell , immediately springs to mind . 
A Group of Farm Animals overthrow their cruel owner and set about creating the perfect society based on 'equality' where every animal wil be equal  .

The Animals publish their 7 commandments - Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. No animal shall wear clothes. No animal shall sleep in a bed. No animal shall drink alcohol. No animal shall kill any other animal . The Most important Commandment is 'all animals are equal' .

As time passes , the animals notice that the Pigs have started to take over and are walking upright on two legs , wearing clothes , drinking alcohol and sleeping in beds.

The commandments have also now changed to "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others" and "Four legs good, two legs better!"



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This is one of the reasons so many teachers are leaving Ireland . all this brainwashing in schools . blue star programme , yellow flag programme , stand up , shout out , all together now ,infant rse etc etc .. of course the pay is crap also but a lot of teachers dont want to be doing this stuff , this isn't education , its indoctrination .
bullying programmes in schools should protect everyone including straight people , all aspects and types of bullying should be discussed . only then can we stamp it out of our schools
careful now gav , the thought police will be after you for hate speech
I like the authors analogy to animal farm , so true , it started off as 'everyone equal' but we now see rainbow flags on GPO , garda cars , post boxes , public buildings , schools , banks and now our children are being put at risk of bullying because someone decided that straight lives dont matter , it doesn't matter if they are bullied in school no , sure they're only heterosexuals . the dirt off our shoes . The whole country has gone mad
CEO of Belong Moninne Griffith was married to a man for several years before becoming a lesbian , now married to a woman who also had relationships with men before she became a lesbian , they both have a child now and appeared as grand marshals at the limerick pride parade .

the only reason I mention it is because I dont know how you can be attracted to men , have relationships with them , even marry one and call yourself a lesbian . makes no sense

lets be honest , painting rainbows isn't going to solve the issue of bullying for anyone .
out of 20 pupils in an entire school who might be gay 77% said people were friendly towards them which leaves just 4 pupils . So the programme is focused on the welfare of just 4 pupils and ignores the other 496 pupils who are being subject to other types of bullying .
Anyone know Why our schools are flying the rainbow flag this christmas . I thought Equality meant you celebrate everyone equally . very divisive . Non lgbt students will feel very left out by this move .
its to please the zapponies of the world , they got everything they wanted but this was not enough now they want to be More equal than everybody else and have their flags fly from every public building in the country .
sadly , facts dont matter anymore , only feelings

if your lgbt , your not allowed to have a mind of your own , you must be treated like a child and brainwashed into thinking that everybody is out to get you and everyone is oppressing you
The Primary school programme says its purpose is

"To explore the Equality Act and the Gender Recognition Act and identify what constitutes discrimination/harassment and how individuals can counter these" with the aim of preventing 'transphobic bullying' among children .

But most primary school children wouldn't know what Trans is and sure how many trans children are they going to know in their class ?

..therefore how could they bully other children for being trans when they dont even know what Trans is and there are no Trans children in their class .

this is not about bullying , its about making a lot of money for a relatively small number of business people .
If anything these programmes are only going to divide people .

the 96% who are not gay , will be jealous that the others are getting so much attention .

we need to stop obsessing over sexuality , treating everyone equally means you consider the welfare of 'every student' not just a few .

students go to school to learn their lessons , not to discuss their sexual preferences with teachers affiliated with GLEN and Belong

I mean , when you talk to someone on the street , are you now supposed to declare your sexuality beforehand , oh by the way , I'm gay ,

If your lgbt , is this what you want , to be given special attention based on your sexuality, because this is not equality , its divisive .

these people in GLEN and Belong are trying to seperate people based on their sexuality , give them preferential treatments and baby feed them

and guess what , they are making a fortune out of it

If your lgbt , contact GLEN and Belong today by email or phone and tell them they dont represent you
UK school - 4 year olds to be given lessons on Transgenderism , parents up in arms .

[url=]4 year olds to be given lessons on transgenderism in uk school[/url]
A lot of people are bullied for no reason at all , it doesn't involve race , sexuality , gender or any other attributes .  This is why its so hurtful and causes much harm , because the person doesn't understand why they are being picked on . It is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with seriously .
Belongs own research stated that 77% of gay people agreed others were friendly towards them in school , so whats the issue

cyber bullying is a huge issue but only had one representative on the government working group

everyone's needs should be considered .

Bullying awareness should include everybody

I think even most gay people , will find this a bit ridiculous , 

the reality is , there are only a small number of gay people per head of population , 4% say the irish times , 1.5% in the uk according to the national stats office.

this is the reality , trying to make out otherwise is insulting to gay people

anyway , in all seriousness , how is painting pictures of gay couples in classes that have no gay pupils going to solve the problems of bullying ?

also , Belong say that the purpose is to create friendship among gay pupils and the rest of the school 

if there is only 20 at most gay pupils in the school , what are they going to do , line them up in a row and get every pupil in the school to shake their hands , congratulations your gay .

the whole thing is so stupid , even gay people are probably laughing at this .

Bullying is a serious issue , it should be taken seriously by the government , there are so many people hurting out there right now and it has nothing to do with their sexual preferences , it has to do with Bullies , who love the power of tormenting other pupils for no reason .

bullying torments its victims , because in most often there are NO reasons for it , the victims try to find reasons about themeselves that makes them victims by changing things about themselves , but it makes no difference , most of the time there are no reasons for being a victim other than the Bully thinks they can get away it . 
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