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Actor Colin Farrell issued a statement against the bullying of gays earlier this month, in support of the Belong To campaign and his older brother.

Recalling the abuse his brother suffered for being gay, Farrell said, “The beatings and taunting were very frequent for him and a constant part of his school years. I didn’t understand at that time the concept of ‘difference’. Back then, as now, he was just my big brother.”

The week-long campaign, called Stand Up!, aimed to raise awareness about homophobia bullying and to build supportive links throughout Ireland’s young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. Like Farrell’s brother’s experience, much of the abuse is suffered at school. In a report on the Belong To website, 25 percent of the LGBT youth surveyed were physically threatened by school peers, but less than two thirds of the victims reported it.

Farrell says the cause of homophobic bullying is fear, and he worries about the potential long term consequences. “Bullying is torture, it is another betrayal of basic human decency and its scars reach way into the future of its survivors. But the saddest truth is that not all children survive it.”

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