Bullying undermines the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and the current United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both of these important documents, despite being published several years apart, set a specific agenda for the reduction in violence against, and discrimination of, children and teenagers. Bullying falls directly within this remit. In this sense, bullying of any individual because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or perceived difference is considered a significant violation of human rights and a public health concern.
According to the United Nations World Report on Violence against Children (2006), sexual and gender-based bullying is a significant concern for educational institutions internationally. In this sense, individuals with sexual orientations, identities or expressions of gender that are perceived to be alternative to the norm are at increased risk of victimisation in a school setting. Tackling this specific form of discrimination is thus a public health concern of great urgency. In 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prepared a report reviewing up-to date literature on homophobic bullying. This report recognised the scale of the problem in relation to educational institutions and the need to tackle it head on to reach their goals of achieving education for all and stopping school violence . More recently, the prevention of homophobic/sexual minority bullying falls under the remit of the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN, specifically, Goals 4 and 5. Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusivity and the equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. The objective is to improve both the school environment and access to schooling for all individuals, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth. This goal will go a long way to ensuring a culture of peace and non-violence in our schools and digital environments. Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This sets an agenda to better empower young women and educate young men to achieve their goals regardless of gender and/or sexual identity.