Stonewall has announced the active role the world renowned Thespian will play in in their campaign. Tackling the issue of school children who are targeted as a result of their sexuality, the campaign comes in the run-up to Anti-Bullying Week (19-23 November).
McKellen, who is currently touring schools, says he feels “privileged” to help Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity. He provides the narrating voice in the charity’s latest video, intending to increase awareness of anti-gay bullying.
The video, which is also available on the Stonewall website, contains statistics used for Stonewall’s School Report 2012, which show that more than 50% of young gay people questionned for the University of Cambridge’s research are bullied on homophobic grounds, and 56% have self-harmed because of this, with approximately a quarter having attempted to commit suicide. All young people interviewed for the video are previous victims of homophobic bullying and are now working with Stonewall to help their schools in this latest campaign.
An important part of Stonewall’s campaign is to encourage people to talk to schools so they work harder against this form of bullying and, by joining the charity’s School Champions programme, make sure teachers are there to help support LGBT pupils. Further benefits to the programme are visits from prominent gay role models, including members of the Armed Forces.
Ian McKellen is visiting programme members across Britain on behalf of Stonewall. In a statement he said: “Nothing in life is more important to me than helping gay young people realise that there are better days ahead of them. I’m proud that Stonewall – which I helped create to tackle legalised homophobia – is now leading the fight in those British schools where homophobic bullying ruins far too many young people’s lives.”
To learn more about the campaign visit www.stonewall.org.uk/antibullying or donate to the charity via www.stonewall.org.uk/donate. Remember, Anti-Bullying Week runs 19-23 November, but the fight to stamp it out is ongoing.