South Shields local’s anti-homophobia campaign praised in Parliament

February 26, 2015

130711 - Emma Lerwell Buck MP smallAt Women and Equalities Questions on Thursday (26 February) Emma explained how a campaign by South Shields’ Stuart Hatton, Mr Gay World, is helping to combat homophobic bullying.

Emma told the House how the ‘So What?’ campaign was challenging discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide, and asked the Minister for Equalities Jo Swinson MP to join Labour Shadow Ministers in supporting the campaign.

Emma said:

“Is the Minister aware that Mr Gay World, Stuart Hatton, lives in my constituency? He recently launched a fantastic anti-bullying campaign called “So What?”. His message is simple: some of us are straight, some of us are gay, so what? With Stonewall reporting that nearly a quarter of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils miss school because of homophobic bullying, his message is sorely needed. Labour’s shadow Ministers are backing Stuart’s campaign. Will the Minister?”150112 So What Launch

The Minister replied that she would be “happy to look at [the campaign], as it sounds excellent” and that “tackling homophobic bullying must be a real priority.”

You can read Emma’s question and the Minister’s response on Parliament’s website.

Stuart won the Mr Gay World competition in 2014, and started the ‘So What?’ campaign as a way to use his position to fight back against homophobic discrimination. The campaign was launched in January in South Shields, and since then people from across the world have shown their support on Twitter.

Labour has made its own commitment to tackling homophobic bullying in schools. The Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP recently announced that under Labour there would be a ‘zero tolerance’ approach, with all new teachers trained to deal with homophobic prejudice.

Speaking after Education Questions, Emma said:

“Stuart’s campaign is exactly the sort of message young people need to hear, and I was pleased to have the chance to raise it in Parliament. Labour has made it clear that we want to make homophobia a thing of the past, and campaigns like this can make a real difference.”

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