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Three quarters of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school, says new report

The survey was carried out by BeLong To.

THREE QUARTERS OF LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school, according to new research from advocacy group BeLong To.

The 2022 School Climate Survey found that 76% of LGBTQ+ school students said they did not feel safe in school, and 69% said they have heard homophobic remarks from other students.

Some 58% said they have heard homophobic remarks from school staff.

One third of the 1,208 respondents said they had skipped school to avoid negative treatment associated with being LGBTQ+.

One anonymous respondent said: “I think a big part of my depression in life has been since I found out I’m gay when I was 14-15.

“At first I hated myself because of it, I used to pray and wish I was ‘normal’ because that’s how students in school treated LGBTQ+ people.”

The survey named bathrooms, PE, sports facilities, locker rooms and lunch rooms as spaces LGBTQ+ students are most likely to avoid.

One positive finding in the report was that 99% of respondents said they knew at least one staff member supportive of LGBTQ+ identities.

CEO of Belong To, Moninne Griffith, said: “In the past two years, we have witnessed the rollback of LGBTQ+ rights internationally, the growth of the far right, and horrific violence inflicted on members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland.

There is still a long way to go for positive changes in laws and policies that we have seen in Ireland in recent years to translate into change experienced in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ young people.

Griffith added: “This research highlights the urgent need for educators, parents, schools, policymakers, and politicians to listen to LGBTQ+ students and to learn from them. We must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students who are seriously at risk.”

This is the second iteration of the School Climate Survey. The 2019 survey found that In 2019, 73% of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe at school, and 86% felt isolated by other students.

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