LGBT+ adults in Birmingham twice as likely to have been bullied at school than straight peers

by Just Like Us
October 2022

Pupils and staff get ready to join the march

LGBT+ adults in Birmingham are twice as likely to have been bullied at school compared to their non-LGBT+ counterparts, new independent research by Just Like Us has found.

Almost half (45%) of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) adults in Birmingham say they did not enjoy their time at school. That is double the number of non-LGBT+ Brummies (23%). It is also above the UK national average for LGBT+ adults (42%).

Shockingly, more than one third (37%) of LGBT+ adults surveyed in Birmingham said they were bullied at school. This is compared to just 15% of adults who are not LGBT+ counterparts. The national average for LGBT+ respondents was 36%.

More than half of LGBT+ adult Brummies didn’t have a role model at school

Perhaps worse still, more than half (55%) of LGBT+ adults in Birmingham don’t feel like they had a role model at school.

The new independent study by Just Like Us comes as it prepares to launch this year’s Ambassador Programme. The programme trains young LGBT+ volunteers to speak about their experiences and bring positive LGBT+ representation into secondary schools. 

The charity is encouraging LGBT+ people aged 18-25 in Birmingham to volunteer as ambassadors.

Young people walk with the signs they've made at Birmingham Pride
Just Like Us helped bring schools to Birmingham Pride

More than quarter (26%) of LGBT+ people in Birmingham agreed with the statement: “I do not have fond memories of school, I have blocked it out of my memory”. This was again higher than the national average for LGBT+ adults (22%).

A fifth of LGBT+ adults in Birmingham were ‘very lonely’ at school

In addition, one in five LGBT+ Brummies (19%) had very few/no friends at school. The survey found that 19% describe school as a “very lonely time”, compared to 12% of non-LGBT+ adults. 

Just Like Us’ research highlights the stark difference in school experiences between LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ people.

The new research comprises an online survey of 3,076 UK adults. 1,001 were LGBT+ and 2,075 were non-LGBT+; those surveyed were aged 18 to 65+ and it was carried out between July and August 2022.

‘Devastating’ findings

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, says: “It’s devastating that so many LGBT+ people in Birmingham had such an awful experience at school. The fact that our young people are still having this experience in 2022 is outrageous. 

“Sadly things haven’t really changed as much as we might like to think. LGBT+ school pupils are still twice as likely to be bullied. They’re also much more likely to feel unsafe in school.

“LGBT+ representation is desperately needed in schools. That’s why we’re asking LGBT+ 18 to 25 year olds in Birmingham to come forward and volunteer with us.

Just Like Us ambassadors marching
Just Like Us ambassadors marching at Birmingham Pride

“You’ll be helping to bring much-needed visibility to struggling LGBT+ pupils in the West Midlands. Please sign up so the future can look brighter for the city’s LGBT+ young people.”

LGBT+ people aged 18-25 can sign up now to volunteer with Just Like Us.