Gay group welcomes condemnation by bishops of bullying
IRISH TIMES 16/08/2005
By Christine Newman
A group representing gay and lesbian people has welcomed
the recent condemnation by the Catholic Bishops of
Ireland of bullying because of sexual orientation.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) referred
to the bishops' recent pastoral letter for young people.
Eoin Collins, directory of policy chance in GLEN,
said he welcomed the condemnation of bullying and
abuse of gay people.
"Young lesbian and gay people frequently experience
bullying, abuse and violence in and outside the school
environment. This can lead to isolation, depression
and for some, risk of suicide," he said. "The bishops'
statement is an important acknowledgment of the extent
of this bullying and of the need to counteract it."
He said GLEN urged the Department of Education and
the school management bodies to act on the issues
raised by the bishops and develop policies and programmes
to make schools a safe learning environment for young
lesbian and gay students.
The pastoral message acknowledged that the traditional
church structures did not always reach out to, and
listen to young people.
It said the ministry could not be uniform. People
had different needs and the church must reach out
by providing a full "cycle of care". Some hungered
for spiritual support. Others had had little experience
of spiritual nourishment. Others were uninterested
or burdened by pain and guilt - for many had grown
up with suffering or abuse.
"The experience of being bullied is widespread. This
can happen on the basis of race, disability, gender,
sexual orientation or social class. Any such victimisation
of individuals or groups is unacceptable and to be
condemned," the message stated.