LGBT Bullying

In an article I read this week, a 20 year old #@$%anese woman spoke about her life. She talked about being accused of not being “girly enough,” and how she was frequently swarmed by students and beaten with a roll of paper. Her teachers witnessed the abuse again and again but did nothing. She begged her junior high classmates for help -- but they told her to endure the abuse, that high school would be easier. She said that this was too commonly the case in #@$%an, as is the case in many places around the world. The reason she was always being bullied was due to her sexuality as she was bi-sexual. Being anything other than the commonly accepted hetero-sexual is frowned upon in many cultures and seen as a bad thing in many countries. This is not right and lives are constantly being affected by it, people fail to notice how impacting events like this can be on the lives of young people. There was a related UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report released recently that documents the widespread failure to address #@$%phobic and transphobic bullying in schools across Asia and the Pacific, which is a huge issue. How do you think it can or should be addressed within these countries? Have you been affected by bullying whether related to your sexuality or not? Check out the report from UNESCO for more information on the statistics.

The Bullying of LGBT students in schools is making headlines a few months before the UNESCO summit on the topic this May. The gathering is for ministers and directors of education to focus on governments’ responsibility to make schools safe for everyone. Harassment, teasing, and outright violence color the lives of LGBT students in many countries, and is often compounded by teachers’ lack of awareness on how to address such issues. On the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity, a British teacher told FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency) : “I’ve had literally no training at all about how to deal with it so no, I would not feel comfortable dealing with it.” This is way too often the case and this leaves teachers uncomfortable to help those in needs even when they want to. FRA also found that teachers commonly hear anti-LGBT slurs in their schools. Most worryingly, some teachers believe LGBT bullying cases are under-reported due to widespread prejudice. Governments – in the EU and around the world – have an obligation to address these concerns, and empower teachers to make their schools safe for LGBT students. They should start with a very basic gesture: requiring teachers to learn. How would you suggest that teachers learn to address these issues? What would you do about the bullying?

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