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Meg North from Mount Temple Comprehensive School pictured for BeLonG To's Stand Up Awareness Week which is taking place this week. Maxwells Dublin
LGBT survey

Half of LGBT+ students have heard homophobic or transphobic comments from staff members at school

73% of LGBT+ students surveyed said they feel unsafe at school.

ROUGHLY 50% OF LGBT+ students said they have heard homophobic or transphobic remarks from teachers and other staff members at school, according to a new survey.

The 2019 School Climate Survey was published today by LGBT+ charity BeLonG To. The results indicate that 73% of LGBT+ students surveyed feel unsafe at school, with almost half saying this is because of their sexual orientation. 

48% of students surveyed said they heard homophobic remarks and 55% reported hearing transphobic remarks from teachers and other staff members at school. 

CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services Moninne Griffith said this study should act as a “wakeup call” for government officials, schools and students to take immediate action on this issue. 

“Despite misconceptions, growing up LGBTI+ isn’t all rainbows post-the marriage equality referendum. Our findings indicate the intense discrimination, harassment, isolation and stigma that LGBTI+ students experience in Ireland,” said Griffith. 

Worse still, the research reveals that some staff members turn a blind eye to, and sometimes even contribute, anti-LGBTI+ remarks.

The report was launched today to celebrate a decade of Stand Up Awareness Week which began yesterday in secondary schools around the country and will continue over the next few days. The week invites people to take a stand against LGBT+ bullying. 

‘They outed me to everyone. It was horrible.’

34% of LGBT+ students in the survey said they avoided bathrooms due to safety concerns and over 85% said they felt deliberately excluded by peers. 

In anonymous responses to the survey, some students described their situations at school. 

“I told my friends I was gay in first year and they outed me to everyone. It was horrible. People scribbled slurs on my photos around the school and wrote a slur on my locker in marker. I told my teacher and she basically told me I shouldn’t have come out then, as if it was my choice in the first place,” one student said.

“I was physically and verbally harassed while I was in school based on my sexual orientation and because I was more masculine than other girls,” another anonymous student said. 

Seven in 10 said they weren’t taught anything positive about LGBT+ identities in school.  

The study also found that around 77% of LGBT+ students experience verbal harrassment, 38% experience physical harassment and 11% experience physical assault due to their sexual orientation or gender expression. 

Over two-thirds of LGBT students said they hear anti-LGBT+ remarks from other students and one-third feel that other students aren’t accepting of LGBT+ identities. 

The students are also 27% more likely to miss school and 8% less likely to pursue third-level education. However, almost all of the students in the study had identified at least one staff member at school who was supportive of LGBT+ students.

788 students aged between 13 and 20 were included from every county in the Republic of Ireland in the study conducted online by BeLonG To Youth Services and Columbia University. 

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