Young LGBT people are every day experiencing bullying – both from their peers and their teachers. Research recently launched shows that over 70 per cent felt that they couldn’t be themselves at school. Many schools do not even address issues about sexual orientation.
“I left school because of the hurt and suffering I got in school, and the teachers didn’t care, as I think it was a case of “well they call him gay and he probably is gay, so why should we step in?” – gay, male, 23.
Homophobic and transphobic bullying pose a serious physical and mental health threat to young people.
Threatened and afraid
Results of the research:
- 58 % reported the existence of homophobic bullying in their schools
- Over 50 % had been called abusive names by fellow students
- 34 % reported homophobic comments by teachers and other staff members
- 25 % had been threatened by peers
- 40 % had been verbally threatened by fellow students because they were or were thought to be LGBT
- 72 % felt that they couldn’t be themselves at school
- 20 % admitted to missing school because they felt threatened or were afraid of getting hurt at school
Research has found that the most common age for a young person to discover their sexual orientation or gender identity for themselves is 12 years of age, and the most common age to start “coming out to others” is 17 years of age. This 5 years gap coincides with puberty, school and a critical period of social, emotional and vocational development.
Research among asked teachers found that:
- The majority of teachers hear and witness homophobic name-calling and bullying
- A sizeable proportion of teachers are aware of physical homophobic bullying
- Most teachers wants to do something to address homophobic bullying
- Many teachers feel ill-prepared to be able to do something about addressing this issue
Have a look at this film about standing up for homophobic bullying: