Can I thank the Member, Jayne Bryant, for her question? And I absolutely agree that we all have a responsibility to tackle bullying and to talk about it, and you’re right to say that we can’t underestimate the impact that anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, or any form of bullying for that matter, can have on young people in their lives. We’re working closely, as the Welsh Government, with the Anti-bullying Alliance, who are behind Anti-bullying Week and we’ve worked in partnership with them since the last Senedd term, which has meant that we’ve had new bilingual resources to help prevent bullying and they’re available each autumn for learners and practitioners, including 2023.
We talk about what you said, the impact of LGBTQ+ bullying and the impact it has on people as they’re growing up, and I think I’ve touched on it here in this Chamber very briefly before—that I was bullied at secondary school. I thought then it was because I was different. I think that children had recognised something in me that I had yet to recognise in myself, and I think if you reflected on it now, we would call it for what it was: homophobic bullying. It went on for four and a half years and it only stopped when I decided I’d had enough, because I’d heard the group were going to put itching powder in my clothes after PE and I just couldn’t bare the thought of that humiliation.
So, that was the point when one of my friends made me go and tell a teacher so that we could stop it. So, it took me a long time to build my self-belief back after that happened. So, as you said in those words, ‘from the playground to Parliament’, it is really important that we make a noise about bullying. We share our experiences, however difficult they might be, and so it really is true that, if we share them in this Parliament, hopefully that is something that then transmits to playgrounds and settings throughout our communities in Wales.
This week marks Anti-bullying Week and this year’s theme is ‘Lets make a noise about bullying’.
The effects of bullying can have a lasting impression on anyone and everyone, whether that is at school, work, college or socially. Bullying doesn’t just affect children but adults too and has no place in our society.
In the Senedd this week, I spoke about my own experience of being bullied and what impact that had.