Amazon has partnered with musician and LGBT+ campaigner Will Young for the Reading Roadshow. (Amazon)
Amazon announced on Thursday (July 4) that it will be supporting an LGBT+ inclusivity programme to tackle homophobic bullying, after commissioning a study which showed that it was the most common type of bullying in UK secondary schools.
Amazon is partnering with PinkNews, LGBT+ education charity Just Like Us and musician Will Young to launch the Reading Roadshow, which includes inclusivity workshops and provides schools with free, expert-approved LGBT+ literature.
A study commissioned by Amazon from YouGov, which surveyed 1,000 UK teachers, found that 71 percent had witnessed homophobic bullying in secondary skills and that 35 percent of teachers observe anti-LGBT+ bullying at least once a month.
Simon Johnson is the UK Country Manager for Books at Amazon and executive sponsor of the Amazon LGBT+ employee affinity group.
He said: “Diversity and inclusion can make everybody stronger – benefitting communities, schools and across society as a whole. So by meeting positive role models, running workshops which tackle the causes of bullying and opening young minds to literature that challenges stereotypes, we hope the LGBT+ Reading Roadshow has a positive impact on students and builds on the existing work of schools.”
The Roadshow will travel to participating schools around the country to discuss issues of discrimination against LGBT+ school children, the first being Petchey Academy in East London, where musician and LGBT+ campaigner Young spoke to students about issues facing LGBT+ communities.
Amazon volunteers, staff from Just Like Us and Young played games and listened to music with the pupils, who were also able to win prizes from the Amazon Treasure Truck.
Will Young speaks to students at Petchey Academy in East London for the Amazon Reading Roadshow which promotes LGBT+ inclusion. (Amazon)
Will Young: Amazon is showing young people that being true to yourself is an enabler, not a barrier, to their future
Young said: “Thirty years ago, when I was at school, talking about LGBT+ issues or even reading these books in school would have been illegal.
“It was only 16 years ago that Section 28 was abolished – when many of these young people were just toddlers. Even today, young people still suffer from LGBT+ bullying and barriers to being their authentic selves.
“That’s why it’s great that Amazon is visiting schools across the country to show young people that being true to themselves is an enabler not a barrier to their future.”
Participating secondary schools will receive a free box of books for their libraries containing a selection of books about the importance of LGBT+ inclusion and the experiences of LGBT+ people.
All books have been accredited for age appropriateness and educational value.
Benjamin Cohen, CEO of PinkNews, said: “It’s brilliant to see Amazon go above and beyond in its commitment to diversity and inclusion – not just representing those within the LGBT+ community, but right across society.
“By taking that positive message directly into schools, these role models can be a force for good.”
Amazon also announced on Wednesday (July 3) that it would be removing books by conversion therapy author Joseph Nicolosi from its listings.