Over half of Irish students believe coming out as LGBTI+ will lead to bullying, a new study has revealed.
A poll from the national LGBTI+ youth organisation, BeLonG To Youth Services, shows students correlate coming out as LGBTI+ with bullying.
Some 52% of students believe that if someone in their school comes out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, that they will be bullied.
Alarmingly, 73% of LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school.
77% of LGBTI+ students experience verbal harassment such as name-calling or being threatened, 38% experience physical harassment (being shoved or pushed), and 11% experience physical assault (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) based on their sexual orientation, gender or gender expression.
The data comes from research conducted by Empathy through an online survey of 278 secondary school students, ahead of Stand Up Awareness Week, Ireland’s largest anti LGBTI+ bullying campaign, with 58% of second-level schools participating in last year’s event.
For 11 years now, Stand Up Awareness Week has been a time for second-level schools to take a stand against the anti-LGBTI+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling that silences many students and can result in serious mental health challenges.
As part of Stand Up Awareness Week, running from November 16th-20th, every second-level school in Ireland has been given a free resource pack with information, activities, and advice to create an LGBTI+ friendly school environment.
Moninne Griffith, CEO BeLonG To Youth Services said: “The results of our 2019 School Climate Survey set off alarm bells as schools across Ireland realised the extent of bullying that LGBTI+ students experience and the sometimes tragic toll this can have on young lives.
"Stand Up Awareness Week is a time for all schools to take action against homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic bullying and show they welcome, value, and support LGBTI+ students. Supportive schools improve academic performance, attendance, and mental health outcomes.
"We saw a huge increase in the number of schools joining us for Stand Up Awareness Week last year, and hope that more schools will join the campaign this year to prioritise creating safe school environments for LGBTI+ youth.”