Friday, November 18, 2011
24dash: An international star and champion of gay rights has backed Sunderland's approach to tackling bullying on a visit to schools in the city. Sir Ian McKellen met pupils at Sandhill View and Hetton secondary schools to describe his own experiences of growing up gay and facing homophobic bullying, and to answer questions about how he coped and some of the help and advice now available to teenagers. On his visit he was accompanied by representatives of the national charity and campaign group 'Stonewall' which he helped found to represent the views and interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. After speaking Sir Ian answered general and personal questions from students about homophobia and his work as an actor. "Until I visited secondary schools I hadn’t realised how much anti-gay bullying goes on throughout the education system in this country. By talking frankly about my own life as a gay man and listening to the concerns of staff and students I hope the visits arranged by Stonewall with Sunderland City Council, may make a difference in the classroom and the playground and also give confidence to gay students about their lives in the future." (Ross Macmillan, 24dash.com, Jan 28, 2011). Sir Ian McKellen backs council's anti-bullying approach
Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).