Thought-provoking play tours schools in Hate Crime Awareness Week

A PLAY based on real-life experiences of young people in Tameside toured schools during Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The production called ‘Outloud’ sought to open discussions and change attitudes, as well as raise awareness of homophobia, bullying and discrimination.

As February is also LGBTQ+ History Month, the play also empowered young LGBTQ+ individuals by celebrating diversity and introducing role models.

The production called ‘Outloud’ sought to open discussions and change attitudes, as well as raise awareness of homophobia, bullying and discrimination.

Pupils at local schools experienced a 30-minute play, written by Adam Zane, followed by an interactive workshop led by the actors. It used clips from television and news reports to provoke discussions on homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, cyberbullying, hate crime and other areas.

The activities aimed to help increase knowledge about the nature and impact of hate crimes, improve understanding of the importance of inclusive language and respectful behaviour, and help young people identify and challenge discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

Tameside Council’s Community Safety Partnership funded Hive North to deliver the play to schools and, before doing so, the Manchester theatre company visited the Outloud LGBTQ+ Youth Group to get an insight into the realities faced by young LGBTQ+ people in Tameside.

They shared personal encounters with discrimination and highlighted a widespread issue with unreported transphobia, which has been intensified by social media exposure.

The young participants expressed the need for greater understanding of diverse sexualities and identities within their schools and communities, with feedback contributing to a more informed understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth today.

Councillor Vimal Choksi, Tameside Council Executive Member for Towns and Communities, said: “It is wonderful to witness such an amazing project visit schools in our borough. The education on offer to the young people will inform them on how to stay safe in their communities, as well as, how to identify an unsafe situation.

“By showing this to pupils in schools and educating them on the matter will show young people that there is a safe space for open discussion.”

Neighbourhood officers and PCSOs from Greater Manchester Police were also out in schools, colleges, community centres, bus stations and other public spaces to share resources, raise awareness and answer questions during Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Chief Superintendent Stephanie Parker, strategic Hate Crime lead for GMP, said: “While this one week shines a spotlight on hate crime and raises awareness of the abuse that people suffer, we spend every single week handling and dealing with issues in the community.

“As we carry on through 2024, I look forward to seeing what further good work we can do to help those who have been suffering with the scourge of hate crime.”

People can report a hate crime on the GMP website at www.gmp.police.uk.

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