Queer kids don’t feel safe at school

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A report on queer teens in Ireland has revealed that almost three quarters of them feel unsafe at school. The research by the activist group, BeLonG To Youth Services, is the largest survey ever conducted on queer youth in the Irish education system. It involved nearly 800 LGBTQ+ people between the ages of 13 and 20 from all Irish counties.

The alarming findings show that 77% of queer teenagers experience verbal harassment, and 38% experience physical harassment. 11% experience serious physical assault because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. The study suggests that bullying is worst for transgender students.

“I was sexually abused by the guys in the PE changing room age 14 to 17 on a weekly basis,” reads one anonymous response to the survey. “They would slap my ass, put their fingers up my ass, grope me and pull at my penis. I was terrified of PE and this affected my attendance on PE days.”

Another said: “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.”

The result of this targeted harassment is that queer kids are 27% more likely to miss school, and 8% less likely to pursue higher education.

Moninne Griffith, chief executive of BeLong To, said the research should be a “wake up call” for the government. She urged the Minister for Education to take immediate action to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of at-risk queer students.

Among the report’s recommendations are that the Irish government should review and update professional development supports for teachers, and encourage schools to develop school-wide LGBTQ+ inclusion policies. The report also calls on schools to implement a curriculum that supports diversity and respect for queer people, including an evaluation of social personal health education and sex education.

Comments 2

  1. ““They would slap my ass, put their fingers up my ass, grope me and pull at my penis.”
    Wow! Which school was that? I would have loved to go there :)

  2. Curious that usually the most vocal homophobes and the most physical homophobes are only projecting their own desires to the victims — and usually are the most sexually attractive to those victims. Clearly, homophobia is nearly always just a public sign of inner sexual frustration — either can’t or won’t seek out their own sexual desires.

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