We arrived at the ITV Headquarters on London’s Southbank after being whisked down on a scenic journey from Manchester by Virgin trains, and met up with rest of our friends from February’s festival and after networking for a while took our seats in the audience, as the sun set over the Thames, for an important discussion with InterMedia‘s members about some of the lastest anti-bullying campaigns.
ITV Creative and Stonewall have been working together to tackle homophobic bullying with their School Sponsorship Anti-bullying project, and Stephen Barber and Grivas Kopti talked about work they had done creating a poster to highlight people’s perceptions of LGBT issues and discussing homophobic phrases. ITV has also produced a video featuring employees such as Sonia, who works on This Morning, to encourage people to speak up for support whilst they’re at school. Working in partnership like this they produced Vines and Instagam videos that really had the ability to reach the younger generation with an important message.
Following on from the encouraging words from ITV we heard in a video message from Shaun Dellenty who founded Inclusion For All, a new initiative the deputy head primary school teacher had devised to train teachers on how to communicate the impact of the negative use of the word gay in schools. ITV isn’t alone in the work it is doing with schools and Hannah Kibirige from Stonewall talked about their campaign No Bystanders to impress on people that words leant at school carry on into adult life. Stop it at the start and don’t be a bystander is their powerful message.
Hailing from Manchester and also having done the LGBT Heritage Walk of the rainbow tiles in the city centre we knew the tragic tale of Albert Kennedy and the trust formed after his death. AKT formed in 1989 after Kennedy, a gay man, fell to his death from a city centre car park after being pursed by a homophobic gang, and aim to provide a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.
When Stephanie Fuller from AKT stood to talk about the charity, even though she felt apologetic she may bring the room’s positive mood down, we knew what she had to say was important as many in the room being based in London may not of heard of the charity. There is still work with LGBT teens that is still vital and ongoing and even Stephanie said, when she recently started in the job that she was surprised at the level of need for support that still continues today. She told us how one recent outing by a school teacher resulted in a young boy being stabbed, and then kicked out of home.
These days pupils can be easily outed through social media and the lack of representation of LGBT people in the media means there are no positive role models for this younger generation. Visibility is very important which is something we aim to continue to support through our next Queer Media Festival events with queer film screenings and conversations with LGBT media professionals. Things will change even if it is not as fast was we would like but together we are heading in the right direction.