Anti-Bullying Initiative highlights that Words Can Hurt

Publish Date: 14/11/2011

Anti-Bullying Week takes place from November 14th-18th and this year’s theme is Words Can Hurt.

Manchester’s award winning Exceeding Expectations Anti-Homophobic Bullying initiative, is back in the city’s schools from Anti-Bullying Week until November 25th.

It’s a project where language and words and the impact they can have are at its very heart.

The Exceeding Expectations play – OUTLOUD - is based on the real words and experiences of young people in Manchester, many of whom shared the words that hurt them with the play’s director – Hope Theatre Company’s - Adam Zane.

Zane comments: “I interviewed young lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people across Manchester and their experiences formed the themes of the play. One of the recurring themes is the negative use of the word “gay” and other homophobic language, and the damage and the hurt that it causes young people.”

Exceeding Expectations has been working in Manchester Secondary Schools around the issue of homophobic bullying for over four years, reaching out and supporting young people and schools through staff training, resources, theatre in education, workshops, research and more.

The project has revealed that 94% of pupils have heard the word “gay” being used negatively in their school, but after working with Exceeding Expectations many young people have fedback about thinking more about what they say.

One pupil said “I stopped using the word ‘gay’ as much, because I now know how badly it can actually affect someone, even if they aren’t gay.”

Annie Emery, Programmes Manager from the Lesbian & Gay Foundation said: “One of the aims of Exceeding Expectations is to encourage young people to stop and think about what they are saying, why they are saying it and the damage name calling can do. It’s really important that young people speak out for each other and themselves, and report bullying.”

Exceeding Expectations is a multi-agency partnership between Manchester City Council, Healthy Schools Manchester, The Hope Theatre Company and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation.