Neil Dallimore’s 11-year-old son was so worried about being bullied for being gay, that when he came out to his dad recently, he begged him to keep it a secret — even from teachers at his school in Glasgow, Scotland.
That fear was laid bare when another boy, who had been open about his sexuality, was treated “in a negative way” by his teachers, Dallimore told GayStarNews.
‘To hear your child ask that a part of his identity not be known to elders that are there to educate, protect and support him is a gut punch,” said Dallimore. So Dallimore decided to push back and send a message.
Later this month, the Glasgow man will do that by walking the West Highland Way, which is 96km or almost 60 miles long, to raise awareness of homophobia in schools, especially how some teachers treat students when they come out as LGBTQ.
“Too often I hear stories from my kids about how they’ve either been the target of or personally witnessed homophobic bullying and it’s a problem that precious few teachers have seemed to know how to handle. It’s worrying and upsetting to see your child treated like an outsider by other children based on sexuality and it must change.”
Dallimore created a crowdfunding page to benefit the UK’s Time for Inclusive Educati0n campaign, which gives school children lessons in antibullying, acceptance and tolerance.
The dad plans to begin August 27 and complete the walk within six days, averaging ten miles a day.
“I searched last year for some hope of this problem being addressed through the education of LGBT+ issues in Scottish schools and was overwhelmed with appreciation and hope when I found the TIE campaign.
“Jordan Daly and Liam Stevenson have been campaigning endlessly for over a year now to bring this issue to light and to change the way our children hear about LGBT+ issues in school: with care, sensitivity and openness.”