Words: Steve Brown
Almost three-quarters of LGBTQ teenagers in Ireland feel unsafe in schools.
According to new research by Belong To Youth Services and academics at Columbia University, a large majority of teenagers say they have experiences homophobic remarks from other students and that the school is an unwelcoming environment.
Moninne Griffith, chief executive of Belong To, told the Irish Times: “The study paints a bleak picture of the reality of school life for LGBTQ students in Ireland.
“The heartbreaking reality is that for many LGBTQ students, school is an isolating, unsafe place.”
The study found that around a third of respondents say they have been shoved or pushed because of their sexual orientation and more than one in 10 reported being punched and kicked.
Around three in 10 LGBTQ students have missed at least one day of school in the last month because they felt unsafe and uncomfortable with many claiming their teachers were not always supportive and nearly half have heard homophobic remarks from teachers and staff.
“We owe these students more than fear, anxiety, loneliness and harm – they deserve a school experience that not only includes their identities but celebrates and values the diversity of their experiences and lives,” Griffith added.
“LGBTI+ young people need to feel equal, safe and supported at school so that they can live healthy lives and thrive at school.”