Suran Dickson, 34, has set up a charity in a bid to make gay role models more visible in schools.
Dickson who has 12 years experience in schools in North London and New Zealand started ‘Diversity Role Models’ so other teachers could learn mechanisms for dealing with homophobia through workshops and schools talks.
She originally set up the charity after witnessing the frequency of casual homophobia in schools and hearing about cases of teen suicide.
Stonewall findings have shown that 90 percent of secondary school teachers and 40 percent of primary school teachers have witnessed homophobic bullying take place among their pupils but many do not have the training to deal with the issue specifically.
She comments: “I firmly believe that by providing role models for LGBT young people, we can have a positive effect on the negative statistics. We can give them hope that a happy or successful life with loving friends and family is not out of their reach.
“Enabling whole classes of young people to hear from adults who have no problem with diversity sets an example and encourages all students to be empathetic and accepting.”
The charity says role models can be any sexuality, gay or straight, but must “demonstrate that it’s OK to be different”.
Role models currently include Bindya Solanki, a lesbian of Gujarati descent, and Stirling Martin, a gay businessman who speaks about experiencing bullying as a child.
Diversity Role Models is currently seeking funding. For more information visit diversityrolemodels.org