Why this story matters:
Only a few days before this year’s Athens Pride, the results of the first Pan-Hellenic survey regarding LGBT+ students shows that schools are breeding grounds for discrimination, violence and racism.
The research also includes personal testimonies:
“A professor once compared members of the LGBT+ community to pedophiles and cannibals…”
Additionally, there were many testimonies about teachers that not only did nothing while an LGBT+ student was attacked by his or her fellow students but in some cases even encouraged the harassment.
Also, the survey revealed sexual harassment is widespread. One young girl reported that a professor covered for a boy who had sexually harassed her by saying, “You shouldn’t wear such a short skirt. He is a boy after all.” Another girl hesitated to walk to the blackboard because “[…] there will be comments about my physique.”
Such testimonies are all the more worrying, since 59.2% of the students surveyed declare that they have attended schools that are involved in information campaigns on bullying.
Details from the story:
- The survey was an initiative of the Colour Youth – LGBTQ Youth Community of Athens. It lasted two years, the sample was 3,747 people of whom 1,963 identify themselves as LGBT+ persons.
- 84.9% of the students have heard the word “gay” used in a negative tone.
- 60.1% of the students surveyed report that none of the school books include information on LGBT+ issues.
- 71.9% of the students are not comfortable talking about LGBT+ issues with their teachers.
- 74.2% of students say that they have heard homophobic comments at their school, and 74.4% have heard transphobic comments.
- Abusive comments against women are heard in a similar rate.
- One out of three children has experienced some form of verbal harassment and one in seven students has been subjected to physical harassment and/or violence.
- Despite the difficulties, the school performance of the LGBT+ students is very good and their academic aspirations are quite high.
- Colour Youth proposes continuous training for the teachers on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as the introduction of Sex Education in schools.
- As for the school textbooks, the organization considers it very important not to promote / reproduce stereotypical and phobic perceptions and gender-based social norms.