More than half of LGBTQI students have been bullied at school – but most never report it to school staff.
And although teachers have witnessed more than half of bullying incidents, they rarely take action, with eight in 10 victims saying teachers rarely or never intervened.
The numbers show that despite undeniable progress in promoting LGBTQI rights during the first two decades of this century, young people still face prejudice and discrimination in a place where they should feel safe and protected.
Over half – 54% – of LGBTQI students and youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, interrogation / queer, intersex) in Europe reported being bullied at least once at school because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity or gender expression, according to a study released today.
But only 15% said they consistently reported their experiences to school staff, while 58% said they never reported bullying incidents.
A third of them said they did not report it because school staff had not done anything about previous incidents. Teachers were present for more than half of the incidents, but 80% of students said teachers never or rarely intervened.
“Many LGBTQI students still feel uncomfortable and unwelcome at school, ”said Jonathan Beger, Acting Executive Director of IGLYO (International Organization of LGBTQI Youth and Students), who conducted the research with UNESCO, the United Nations educational agency.
“LGBTQI youth, especially trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming and intersex learners, experience unacceptable levels of discrimination and harassment and urgently need strong and explicit protections in laws, policies and practices,” especially in the field of education, ”he added. .
Two-thirds (67%) of students said they had been the target of negative comments, and eight in 10 (83%) had heard negative comments about LGBTQI students. One in four people have been the victim of verbal harassment on a regular basis.
But less than one in five said they learned positive representations of LGBTQI people in school, according to a survey of 17,000 young people aged 13 to 24, released on the International Day against LGBTQI. homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexphobia.
And less than half of Council of Europe member states (19 out of 47) have made sexual orientation and gender identity a compulsory part of the curriculum.
“Education is not just about math and words,” said Manos Antoninis, director of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report. “Schools must be inclusive if we want society to be inclusive. If children learn that only a certain type of person is accepted, it will affect the way they behave towards others.
The level of prejudice LGBTQI students face weighs on their school attendance, research shows.
In the United States, research has found that one in eight lesbian, gay and bisexual students (12.5%) said they had missed school at least once in the past 30 days because they did not feel not safe at school or on the way to school.
And it is a global problem, even in societies normally considered to be tolerant. In New Zealand, LGBTQI students were three times more likely to be bullied than their peers.
In Europe, trans women were the group most likely to be bullied in school, with 9 in 10 reporting being bullied.
There are signs of progress. The proportion of young people who had concealed their sexual orientation or gender identity in school increased from 47% in 2012 to 41%, while young people are more likely to say that their rights were upheld in school and that LGBTQI issues were addressed in school. than previous generations.
The outlook for young lesbians, gays and bisexuals is arguably brighter today than it was at the turn of the century, with advancements around the world in employment, partnership and inheritance rights. .
But it is clear that there is a lot more work to be done to ensure that schools are safe places for LGBTQI youth.