30 November 2023

​Respond to bullying

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs’

Understand homophobia and transphobia

Understand homophobia and transphobia

Young people discuss their experiences of homophobic and transphobic bullying. 

Map where bullying occurs

Map where bullying occurs

Gather evidence of where bullying in occurring in your school.

Work with students to design safe approaches that allow students to share information.

Include LGBTIQA+ in anti-bullying policies

Include LGBTIQA+ in anti-bullying policies

A school’s anti-bullying policy is the most public statement of its commitment to student safety. 
  • Language specifically prohibiting harassment based on nonconformity to gender and sexuality norms, gender identity and gender expression.
  • Clear procedures enabling students, staff, parents, and carers to confidentially report safety and wellbeing issues and concerns.
  • Clear restorative practice guidelines and step-by-step processes for staff when addressing and responding to bullying behaviour.
  • Prevention strategies to explicitly address identity-based bullying.
  • Provision for a number of reporting mechanisms to ensure that students can report bullying in confidence.
  • Relevant support for LGBTIQA+ students.
  • Regular space and time for students to voice concerns about bullying.
  • A wide representation of voices and diverse perspectives in developing anti-bullying policies.
  • Opportunities for students to identify and report types of bullying that occur, including bullying based on identity, such as homophobic or transphobic bullying.

Source: Being LGBT in School (opens in a new tab/window)

Responsive leadership

Responsive leadership

Jordan talks about the responsive intervention from his school principal when he was confronted by homophobic and biphobic comments.

Take strategic and practical action

Take strategic and practical action

Develop and strengthen effective responses to homophobic and transphobic bullying.


  • developing school-wide systems to monitor the prevalence of bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression
  • ensuring policies refer explicitly to supporting the wellbeing and learning of young people who identify as sex, gender, and sexuality diverse
  • involving students, particularly those who are LGBTIQA+, in the development of policies
  • communicating school policies relating to safety and inclusion to the whole school and your community
  • ensuring students can report incidents of bullying in confidence
  • evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to ensure that they are having the desired impact
  • providing training to support all staff in responding quickly to homophobic and transphobic bullying
  • providing all students with access to non-judgmental and accurate information on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
  • including education about discrimination and respect for all in the curriculum at all levels
  • identifying and using appropriate entry points within the curriculum to address issues such as gender roles and stereotypes.

Source: Out in the open (UNESCO) (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources

Ending rainbow bullying

Ending rainbow-focused bullying and discrimination

An interactive workbook for teachers and school leaders to create environments free from rainbow-focused bullying and discrimination. Incorporates evidence-informed guidance from the BullyingFree NZ website.

Publisher: InsideOUT

Download PDF (2 MB)

netsafe lgbtqia

Netsafe: Support for LGBTQIA+ people

A Netsafe article listing options available for people experiencing bullying and harassment based on their sexuality, sex characteristics and gender identity.

Publisher: Netsafe NZ

Visit website

inside out site

Inside Out: About – why it’s important

Inside Out - We all belong is a set of video-based teaching resources that aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying in New Zealand.

Publisher: RainbowYOUTH

Visit website

ppta site

Safer classrooms for all: Anti-homophobia workshops in schools

The PPTA provides free professional development to schools to support them to address the issue of bullying on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Publisher: New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association

Visit website

bullying free site


This New Zealand website provides information, tools, and resources for schools, families, and students to help build safe and bullying-free environments.

Publisher: BullyingFree NZ

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Address immediate environmental, physical and social needs”:

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students